It's one of those days around the Blair Casa today. One of those where I can't help but look around and wonder, "Who are these ungrateful children, and what time will their parents be picking them up and taking them away from here????"
I'll admit... I have babied and pampered my kids to a certain extent. But I wouldn't call myself an overindulgent mother. I'm more of the mom who will go ahead and do something myself when it really should be the child's responsibility to avoid an argument. In the time I would argue with one of the kids about who should pick up and throw away the Mini-Oreos bag, I could bake an entire batch of Oreos and package them myself for selling. So, I pick things up when I shouldn't, and I put items back in their place instead of insisting that the kids step in and do their part. And on most days, I deal with the fact that things will never be as they once were in my house - in order and clean.
Today, I thought I'd throw a little teaser out there. Money always seems to be a motivator for the kids, so I put a $10 reward out for the child who cleaned up their room the best. Of course, in a house of only two kids, you've got a great shot at being the winner! So they were both thrilled and quickly set out to clean their rooms. I even gave David a little preliminary advice pointing out certain areas of his room that needed extra attention.
Madalyn was the first to finish. I must admit, for a five year old who rarely cleans her room all by herself, she did a good job. I had laid some clothes on her bed that needed to be hung in the closet, and she told me, "I couldn't reach up there, so I hung 'em on my door knobs." Definitely gets an "A" for effort and creativity on that one!
David, on the other hand, is innately lazy. I am perhaps innately a procrastinator and easily distracted from a task at hand. But David, my dear sweet little boy, is the laziest person I've ever been around. To the point that I as a mother am beginning to get a little concerned. David will do just enough to make it look as though he has done something, and then he quits. He does not even realize there is an extra mile, much less does he ever try to walk it. So, when I examined his room, I discoverer some things he needed to complete. Let's go for round two. When he announced he was done again, there will still areas that were awful. I called him over to the specific location I had pointed out that would need extra attention in the very beginning and asked if he honestly looked at it and thought it was clean. He could not lie; he knew it was nowhere near clean.
So, I pushed up my sleeves and worked beside him. The whole while, he was pouting and huffing saying he had already lost. I kept telling him I had not made up my mind who had done the best job yet - that he needed to finish his room before I could make a decision and to not give up. So I helped him with the troubled spot, and told the both of them I'd have to think about it.
I had already made my mind up before the cleaning began - if each of them put forth a genuine effort, they would each get five dollars. But when I announced that they would split the prize, David pouted and demanded I pick one winner. I probably should have picked just one, and it definitely would have been Madalyn for showing the most effort and initiative. Instead, I gave Madalyn $6 and David $4, and explained that Madalyn would get more because she did a better job. You would have thought I had taken the family cat outside and tortured her in front of David. Bottom lip puckered and tears flowed. I just can't win for losing around here. Doesn't help to try to be fair, and it doesn't help to try to teach a lesson either. Frustrating to say the least.
Sometimes, I wonder about the big picture. Am I preparing them correctly? Am I doing the best job I can do? Do they have any sense of responsibility? There are certainly more privileged and spoiled kids out there than mine, so am I really just not getting through to them - specifically David??? It just seems like the more you do for the kids, the more they expect. The more they want. The more they think they need. The more they feel entitled to. And I am afraid that I haven't done the best job at teaching them to accept responsibility for themselves and their things.
Maybe we should sell all our belongings and move to Montana and live off the land. Wouldn't that spawn some incredible blog posts? It's just a thought...