I realized something about my kids the other day: My kids now act the same way in front of company as they do all of the time when we do not have guests at the house. I should put it this way- they act up in front of company just like they do when we don't have company at the house.
My buddy, who is a Major in the Army, came to visit me and my family last weekend. I hadn't seen him in 15 years, but it didn't matter to my kids, heck no!
My 5 year old still pulled his pants down at the dinner table and wiggled his butt at his brother then got yelled at by his mother and started to cry, my 11 year old still teased the 5 year old unmercifully( a slight push here, a light tap on the head just hard enough to irritate), then pleaded innocence and screamed amazingly loud when the 5 year old chased after him, crying, and then eventually bit him.
The 11 year old attacked my guest with the " over the couch flying leap" that turned into a wrestling match. And this was done over and over. Coffee in hand? No problem, the little whippersnapper still jumped off of the top rope onto my unsuspecting friend. And it happened all the time.
I am lucky that the guests in my house are usually former football players, or Special Forces guys or fighters. Otherwise, they would be devastated by the sneak attacks that come upon them without any notice. In addition, you better have a thick skin if you plan on being around my kids because they have zero filter when it comes to pointing out flaws that they notice on any part of your body. It is nothing for one of them to point out a pimple on your face or a haircut that just doesn't seem right to one or both of them. My son used to constantly ask my Mother why she had extra skin under her chin and my sister used to get stressed out before we came to visit because she wasn't sure what was going to come out of my son's mouths. I have tried to explain to them that what they say to people, when they point out their perceived flaws, is hurtful and wrong. They have gotten slightly better at keeping their mouths shut. I have taken stuff away from them ("If you bite your brother again, I am going to build a big fire in the front yard and throw your stuffed animals in the fire." I was pretty mad) and it hasn't worked, and I have pretty much exhausted every other form of punishment short of bamboo shoots under their fingernails, but they still have a ton of days where they act like barbarians pillaging a village. What is probably true is that if I hadn't been so strict with the behavior thing they would have probably set the house ablaze while running circles around said house with torches in their little paws yelling, "Anarchy!"
What's strange is that my first son lives away from me in North Carolina and is calm and kind and levelheaded.
So maybe it is me! Maybe I am the cause of this raucous behavior! Or maybe that they are just being boys and they will grow out of it eventually and then they will eventually become fine, upstanding citizens. I believe that they will, and I believe that they are learning about the whole hurtful questions that they ask. Although that point may be argued because just the other day, my 11 year old son asked me, " Hey Dad, when are you gonna get ripped up again? You've don't look as good as you used to."
I wonder if there is room in that fire for his catcher's mitt that I spent all of that money on?