Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Beyond the Fun

I've been trying so hard, as every mother does, to keep up with the house. I started telling the kids a few minutes before Dan gets home to "Hurry lets get the living room clean for Daddy when he gets home!". This was working great until today. Today I said the usual and my son said "Why?" So I told him. "We want Daddy to be in a good mood when he gets here cause he's worked all day. When the house is clean it feels calmer and more relaxing." His reply, "Cleaning a house takes so much work its not relaxing! Dirty houses are much easier to do." Oh! Out of the mouths of babes!

It's so hard to get a child to enjoy having a clean house. Especially if they have to pitch in to keep it that way. Grace is at an age where we can sing the clean up song and she's excited to help for a few minutes, at least. But Orion has heard that song for many years now. I try to encourage him with the prospect that one day he'll get to be the "foreman" and just help the younger ones with these kinds of tasks but I don't know how long that will work. He's getting so smart so quick and what once I could explain without getting into the logic of the matter has quickly shifted into having to explain myself.

With the growing up comes more responsibilities of course. As I mentioned in the previous post my big boy is now responsible for dinner dishes. I have done a time or two with the kids a fun dinner night when Dan is working late. They get to eat and drink out of any dish they want - soup pot, deviled egg tray, something from the china cabinet, a shoe, ANY thing they want to pick. We had so much fun and Orion even told me once that he had always wanted to drink out of this jug he was drinking his tea from. Well....the other day I said, "Ok ya'll you get to pick a dish tonight!" "I know what I'm getting!" screeched Orion, "a paper plate." Huh?..... "Are you sure? You get to pick ANYTHING you want?! Why a paper plate?" "Because I've got to wash all those dishes!" I hate the logic in that statement! He skips out on fun just so he can skip out on the extra work.

It's sad yet satisfying all at once. Satisfying because that was a really quick response and the thought process that went into that in those few seconds was pretty nice for a little kid! And it was awesome to see he was thinking about the consequences of his actions WAY ahead of time.  But..Its sad seeing that he's beyond the point that fun dominates his thinking & reasoning. That only lasts for a short while and it is hard to see it go. I'm looking forward to the future with gladness and I am excited to see what this new stage of child rearing holds for us!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The power of a star

"Idle hands are the devils playground" has so much more meaning than I ever realized. Anytime these kids are not involved in something productive they are hitting or making messes or taking toys away from one another...etc.etc. The same goes for me too though. When I am not doing something productive I'm surfing the web dreaming about all the stuff I can't afford to have or do.

 Orion is pretty easy. We are out of the toddler stage with him and he is a productive member of the family, doing his chores, helping around the house and with his little sisters & probably getting blamed for fights he didn't start in the process. He definitely has his big kid troubles now. He knows everything. And he now gets to do 5 push ups for everything he knows more about than us adults! :)

We started him with "chores" when he was 3ish +/-. Gave him a chart with small jobs to do around the house like put all shoes in shoe basket, pick up trash, really any little thing we could think of that he could do wtih a 3 yr old's attention span. We paid him good too- a quarter a job! I can't tell you how many Transformers he saved up for and bought with his own money that year.

Grace is the girl form of a rambunctious boy. She is into everything...all the time. Jumping off furniture, beating up her big brother, bossing around her little sister. She's just now two but I figured I may as well keep her idle hands busy. So I gave her - her very own chore chart. I know, I know. A two year old with chores?! She helps unload the dishwasher, puts away all the toys and dirty clothes at the end of the day, makes her bed (all with some help), and has to behave during school time. We've only been at this a week now, but day by day she gets more excited to see her gold stars lining up on her chart on the fridge.

 With the success of the chore chart climbing we made a chart for "Potty trips". This is just an example of how strong willed she is. She knows when she needs to go. We can be gone all day at someone else's home and she won't have one accident. If we are home she will strip down and go do her business in a corner rather than going to the bathroom. We've tried stickers, candy and every form of bribery or scolding...but oh those stars....We went from 5-10 accidents a day to 1 in under a week.

What on earth did parents do before the invention of the golden star sticker? It's amazing, and somewhat silly, that a child will rearrange their entire behavior for a sticker smaller than a dime. Orion knows that those stickers mean money so I understand his willingness, but Grace hasn't even made it to the end of the week for payday yet! Thank you golden star sticker inventor!