It’s no secret that over the holidays I read 5 – 7 parenting books. I’ll tell anyone who will listen. I’ve been having a spat with someone in the Amazon comments for one of these books where I gave it a one-star review and they felt the need to school me on how to do it differently. Get lost judgy moms, I was a 70’s baby. I know how to do it.

Something had to change in our house after the holidays because I was frazzled. I hoped one of those books would be the saving grace, but it was not to be. All the “tricks” were things I tried.

Truth be told I like to make fun of their crazy but I suppose the Terror Twins are pretty normal. However, I have tried to be more purposeful with things. I have been paying closer attention to the triggers that land us in a horrible spot and the things that work to get us out.

Here it is – my kids cannot have sugar. It makes them absolutely batshit crazy. They have to have 3 solid meals a day and only after the dinner meal can they have something sweet or a treat. This shit always backfires though and right at bedtime they start to go off the walls. Once when they were both just loud, screaming and generally a pain in the ass, I told them they had to go run up and down the stairs 10 times. Each time they had to come back and count off the number. Off they went.

Real Estate Dad said, “That’s not bad, is that from one of your books?”

Nope. It’s from the not-yet-written pamphlet by Real Estate Mama. On Parenting. I have a lot of pamphlets I’ve threatened to write. I need to start that series.  The golden nugget by the way here is “Sugar Free Popsicles.” It’s been the saving grace, not any parenting book tricks.

The other thing I’m a big fan of is the counting. 1, 2, 3. It works. The funniest part is they don’t know what comes after 3. In fact, NO KID knows what comes after 3, but they don’t care because they’ll whip into shape so quickly.

Recapping: Running 10 flights up and down the stairs and counting to 3 have been working inside the house.

My other trick is usually used to correct bad behavior outside the home. Anything from not wanting to stay buckled into their car seats (Chubs: #1 offender) to Terror Twins misbehaving in a restaurant will result in a “call” by your favorite Real Estate Mama on her cell.  “Mommy is going to call the policeman and he’s going to arrest you.”

This plan was pretty awesome by the way.  It worked so so well. It was brilliant. Other parents in public would laugh until they saw how well it worked then they shut their mouths real fast. A golden gem in my bag of tricks. That is, until we went to my in-laws for Easter this past Sunday and ended up as Car #4 in the middle of a 6 car crash.

Real Estate Dad hit the brakes when the car in front of us stopped on a dime, just as we were getting to the beltway on 95. I watched as we got closer and closer to the car and then we stopped probably a hair away from him. Real Estate Dad looked at me and said, “What about that?” Just as we were about to high-five over his expert driving skills, the car behind us smashed into us. It was a loud and jarring thud. I cringed.

I turned around and there they were, each girl in her carseat, totally freaked out. We both asked them if they were ok and they both started crying. Chubs started yelling for someone to get her out of her seat and hold her. I said okay and as we pulled over to the side of the road I started getting out of my seat and climbing toward the back while Real Estate Dad yelled “STOP We might get hit again!” I just wanted to hold them. As I was unbuckling Chubs I said, “Mommy’s going to call the police.”

And then the real look of fear. They both shrieked and their faces went white. “NOOOOOO! NO POLICE I DON’T WANNA GO TO JAIL.”

Good lord what have I done?

Worst. Mother. Ever.

Physically everyone was okay. Except me. I lost my #1 trick in the bag. But the girls learned policeman can be nice and not so scary.

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