Here's Riley sweeping to When Will My Life Begin. Excuse my singing.
I forget because I see them very day that my kids are growing. They are evolving and changing into capable little beings. Over the weekend Isaac took the dog for a walk on his own. This morning Riley carried one of my crutches so I could carry something else. They can be helpful now, individually and as a team. Isaac's had a responsibility list since he was about 6yrs old. Originally it was pretty much homework and take out the trash. Now he's expected to clean out his lunch box, do homework, do his reading, put away clean dishes/deliver clean clothes to the appropriate rooms, give animals water and tidy his room. On occasion Riley and Isaac load the dryer as a team. He takes the wet clothes out of the washer and passes them to her to put in the dryer. They seem to really enjoy it. I forget sometimes how much they can do.
I think it's good for them to contribute and feel helpful. It reinforces that we're a team. Recently though Isaac has become extremely lazy. I thought it was a 9yr old boy phase, but it goes on and on. I am spending most of my day asking him to finish his list. He resists anything above the bare minimum even when rewards are offered for a task's completion. It's frustrating. I ask him why there are dishes that haven't been put away and he says "they're still wet." At this point I wonder why he's not able to solve this problem on his own. I explain that in that case dry the 3 remaining dishes with the towel and put them away. He reacts with indignation stomping around and crying. What happened?
I explain that he's old enough for an allowance, but until he takes responsibility for his chores I am doing the work and he can't be paid. This works for an afternoon. He suddenly smiles as as he completes his handfull of tasks. He still announces EVERYTHING he's doing which is just as disruptive as having to motivate each task. So we talk about how actions speak louder than words. Don't tell me you're doing a good job show me, etc. I'm tired just thinking about it. I want to be able to relay on the kids to at least make an attempt at their chores.
Riley's different she craves independence and is a natural problem solver. She can be reasoned with to pick up her toys or enticed with a sticker. She likes to help Mommy with the laundry or to brush the puppy. If I give her a rag to dust with she engages with enthusiasm. She's genuinely proud of herself and validation is nice, but secondary. I hope that as they grow and I heal we can strike a more even household chore situation.
I tend to use the domestic stuff to gauge my mobility level. I want to be supermom. To do it all. I want to tell my cleaning lady "I'll do the floors myself from now on." For the kids to come home to a tidy house and fresh baked cookies at the end of a school day, but that isn't reality. Just like the development of children my mobility does not progress in a linear pattern. Good days, bad days...In the near future I how to find a balance of positive reinforcement and consequence that Isaac responds to and to keep giving Riley more independence in appropriate doses. I'm afraid that Isaac is becoming entitled and I don't know how it's happening. I'm also worried I'll cling too Riley's "babyness" too long.
As for me I will continue to (cringe) except the help of others including my children when appropriate until it's no longer necessary. Sigh... I also promise to continue to do everything in my power to try to instill a sense of personal responsibility in each of children in what ever way their personality and temperament accepts. Onward through dishes, laundry, homework, tantrums and such...my glamorous life.