I’m pretty lucky. The Boy generally does what I ask him to do. Unless, of course, he is in the middle of something. And generally, if I set a timer for five minutes or so, he will usually do it then.

Last Sunday, I decided that he should help me prep his lunched for the week. Pretty simple tasks involved, like counting 12 crackers and 12 pepperonis to put into snack bags. The cheese is a bit more complicated, involving a knife and cutting, but I figured he could help me with the bulk of it. I gave him five minutes, and he came to help, doing what I asked. My goal is to get him to the point where he can do this himself every Sunday, because why not?

It took awhile, mostly because he is so careful when he does tasks like this. It would have been much easier for me to do it myself, but then, I won’t always be there, will I?

Every time we do something like this, I give myself an internal high five, and The Man and I look at each other and say, “He needs to do more of this.”

I’m off to brainstorm more ways he can “help,” so we can add them bit by bit…


Get Out of the Way

As The Boy gets older, I fret about what he should be able to do, what he should learn so he can live as independently as possible. The Man and I know that he will be living with us for quite awhile (and to be truthful, I haven’t even considered him moving out to another, more independent situation yet), but we do a lot for him, and we need to stop.

When The Boy was little, he went to a lady’s house for daycare, and she was amazing. She was one of the kindest people I’ve ever met, and the lessons she taught him as a toddler still stick today. I will often find his socks in his shoes, as he was taught to do there at her house.I forget, sometimes, that I can teach those lessons that need to be taught, and they will stick because he is more of a sponge than I give him credit for.

It's not just laundryA couple of years ago, in an attempt to get him to do some chores, I tried to teach him how to fold and put away laundry. I still have him put it away for me (sometimes), but I do most of the folding. The other day, he happened to come into the living room the evening I was folding, and for some reason, The Man had turned Spongebob on – a rare occurrence. The Boy plopped on the couch, and I started handing him socks to match up. He not only matched them up, but balled them up the way I had taught him to do it. No prompting, nothing. He just did it, and with no complaint.

I must, must, must remember to get out of my own way, and provide him with these opportunities to practice and learn, and even allow him to help me a little. He just keeps getting older, darn him, and if I just let go a little, he will surprise me. I just know it.

Earning Back the iPad: Self Advocacy

alarm clock, bought from IKEA

Originally, when I developed the plan for The Boy to earn back his iPad time, he would get his time back upon completion of the four-week chore program.

The Boy had a different idea.

He interpreted the plan to mean that if he did some chores, he would earn some additional time the following day, and when we talked about it, I realized that was a much better plan.  Immediate (or rather immediate) rewards work much better than delayed rewards.

So I amended the plan, and it seems to be a great motivator.  A little self advocacy at work from The Boy, and Mom learns something – win-win!

PS We purchased a Griffin Survivor case for the iPad, and so far we all like how tough it is!

The Shoulds

should what? by 416style

should what? by 416style

Oh, I get so tired of The Shoulds.  I am sitting here, looking comfy and relaxed on the outside, but berating myself on the inside for all of the things I should be doing.  The Almighty List of Things to Do is being read over an over inside my head, in a clanging loop, and I just can’t reason with that voice.

Grammy and Poppy just left this morning for home.  They know I love having them, and we had a really, really great week – it’s been so long since they visited us up here!  But everyone understands, I’m sure, that it would be perfectly acceptable to revel in some alone (The Boy is of course here too, so alone-together?) time after house guests depart.  To just sit, do what one wants to do for awhile, enjoying the ambient sounds of a pretty-decent-outside-for-once Saturday coming in through the windows?

But not those nagging, mean-as-hell Shoulds.  They are reminding me of the house showings coming up this week, that looming deadline to get the monumental task of making the house look respectable. Oh, and also the usual chores of the weekend.  And the million-and-one things I have yet to do before our big move in oh-my-God-seven weeks…

I hate The Shoulds.  I hate it even more when they’re right.

Our Latest (Recurring) Challenge

The MaelstromThe Boy and I are having issues again with things.  There are things that he thinks he needs to either bring or wear to school or other places, yet he can’t keep track of his things in his maelstrom of a bedroom.  Compound that with the fact that he is unable to search for things, and we have this recurring challenge – he will often stand in his room and look for things, but without picking up any of the million things that are lying on his floor or his bed.  “I can’t FIND it!” he will yell, as if his room is a hidden object game where everything is visible if you just look hard enough…

Getting The Boy to clean his room is like pulling teeth.  Getting him to keep it organized is nigh impossible (pulls out thirteen shirts by not being careful about only pulling out the one he needs).  And then he can’t find what he needs, and the cycle continues.

Adding routines is the answer, although this is easier said than done.  “I have to do MORE chores!!” he will exclaim when I ask him to put his clothes in the hamper, as if he can’t dirty his royal hands with them.  Adding incentives to routines — yep!  Come up with yet another chart and stickers, or something.

Tonight we sort out his room again, to look for the blue striped tie he is missing.  Round and round we go, again…