A lot. I worry about everything. My kids. My family. The new condo building going up down the street from the elementary school. Politics. Whether or not my children actually remember their manners when they are away from me. (!!!) Bless their hearts we try hard. And sometimes I worry about myself.
I asked my cat to brush his teeth the other morning and I swear, I thought that was the end. I was sure my mind was going. You see, I am always trying new organizational techniques to try to find something that will help us get out the door, teach good habits and keep the children up with their chores, activities and homework. Plus – we have 1 ASD child and one 5-year-old, just to mix it up good. We’ve tried charts with stars, time outs (Who does this work for?? My children think its fun!), checklists and good ol’fashioned hollering. I think I have found something that seems to work for me though (for now)…. I made the children little schedule sheets for morning, afternoon and bedtime. They are all different according to responsibilities and age. They change every week, so that the chores change and on days where the children have activities after school the times are more like “guidelines”.
A’s Afternoon Schedule
4:00 PM Snack, Homework, Put away laundry,
6:00 PM Dinner
6:30 PM chore: Take Recycling Out
7:00 PM Freetime
They have to follow each sheet before any free time of any kind and I only give 1 reminder with a 10-minute time allowance to fix their chore, homework, etc. If the timer goes off, they then choose one of two possible consequences for their infraction. Now that I’m writing it out it sounds a little complicated, but really its very simple and it has cut down on my shouting at the children to do every little thing. The timer does most of the work. It either goes off and the work is done. Or it goes off and the child chooses their consequence. (I don’t give a consequence if they’re working on it when the timer goes off.) Anyway. It was day 2 of our new chore/work system and was going pretty well and I was giving Mr. M a first reminder about brushing his teeth and I just couldn’t find him. The children run all over the house in the morning like little chickens and I dunno, I looked and the first face that I saw at about the height where Mr. M would be was George, our cat, so I said, “Go brush your teeth!”. George glared at me in disgust and curled up again on his chair in the kitchen.
G was there! It was odd. He said, “I don’t think that’s something cats do honey”. I thought well, that was it. It was a nice run, but the marbles are ready to roll. I’m a few colors short of a crayon box. Since then, I’ve made up with George and we’ve discussed how I shouldn’t expect him to brush his teeth and he wanted to know if he could have more canned food. I said no. (Ok, maybe he didn’t say that – but he was thinking it. I could tell.) I’ve chalked my missing marbles up to a lack of coffee and not getting out of bed earlier. A constant problem for me. Oy vey. I’ve even had my doctor tell me that my “disorganized brain” is due to being with several young children all day, every day and that over time, as they get older, my brain processes should return (hopefully) to normal. There is actually a medical term for it, I can’t remember it at the moment. (Ha!) There really is though. Its an inability to go completely from one thought to the next because of constant and repetitive interruption. I have actually gotten better, but obviously, re: my conversations with George the cat, not back to normal. In the meantime, it helps to have an understanding pet.
Be Fierce. Organize those children! Holler at the babies less! Talk to your pets!