I was downstairs this evening around 9 p.m. We had put the kids to bed and I was trying to get started on making some sourdough bread for my aunt when I see her Friday afternoon. I was just pulling up the recipe when I heard Natasha scream bloody murder and the entire house shook as she slammed the girls' bedroom door.
She came downstairs, so livid that she was still shaking, and ready to scream about the disrespect the girls were showing her. She had stayed upstairs a few moments longer to say goodnight to Evangeline, and when she told the girls it was time to go to sleep and to stop talking, they started chatting even louder. Rachel even started laughing at her.
I started to go upstairs to deal with it, and heard Evangeline screaming -- not in pain, just that sort of shrill, whole-hearted scream kids make when they're mindlessly excited -- and of course Rachel was echoing her right back. This was past the sort of quiet chitchat you allow and even expect when it's time to settle down for the night. They were having a grand old time after they were supposed to be in bed. I opened the door in time to hear Evangeline telling Rachel's fortune: "You're going to die of a terrible disease."
(I don't know where they got that particular line, but even though you just busted out laughing when you read that, you have to agree it's a pretty ugly thing to say to your sister. Natasha's told them not to say it any more, but of course that just adds fuel to the fire and makes it that much easier for them to remember to say it.)
I ended up yanking Evangeline out of her top bunk, and took her into my bedroom, where we talked for about ten or fifteen minutes about how she was being incredibly disrespectful to her mother by not listening to her, and how upset her mother was by the bad choice Evangeline had made, about things we shouldn't say, and ... well, you know the drill.
I was fairly pleased with how well I handled it. I don't want to micromanage Evangeline so that she can't talk a little as she and Rachel power down at bedtime, but they've both been getting wild and rambunctious at bedtime a lot lately, and they're not making the connection between that and how tired they feel in the morning. (Evangeline actually asked me yesterday if she could take a break and rest on the couch after she walked downstairs.) And I think I was able to stress that it's her poor bedtime choices we're having issues with, not with her, because she's a good kid, and we know she knows better than she's been showing lately.
She definitely knows she crossed a few lines too. Natasha had come up and was sitting there with us, and when I asked Evangeline to repeat for her mother what she had told her sister, she was too ashamed to do it. So she knows it's wrong, and that's good. Now it's just a matter of getting that moral awareness to translate into a little more self-restraint.
Afterward, I let Evangeline get back into her bed, I tried to have a similar, age-appropriate chat with Rachel. She, predictably, turned her head away whenever I broached the subject of her own poor choices and how they had made Natasha feel -- which I see as evidence that she's aware that she was in the wrong, but doesn't want to have to face up to that yet. It's a start, at least.
Now the next thing is to make some inroads with Evangeline on her sarcasm.