Chore Charts, Carriers and Something Called Janumas.


OH! And a trip too! My bad.

I must apologize, the last few days have been incredibly hectic, and it’s about to get worse. Ergo, I have not been updating nearly as often as I have thought about updating.

I shall begin with having an excellent day yesterday. Clearly, that sounds ridiculous, but if you look at it from my perspective, it’s pretty awesome. As previously mentioned, I figured out how to work with Biggest’s expanded brain functions. Rather, I thought I did. Turns out, I did significantly better with what I tried than I realized. The second day of showering, we had to run a bunch of errands, and while I was out, I picked up construction paper and stickers. Everyone loves stickers, right? Good. When I was little, we used to have something called a “chore chart”. For those of you in this day and age that haven’t got the foggiest idea what I’m talking about (or perhaps just need a refresher), chore charts are a list of to-do’s that are age appropriate, with rewards for continued effort. Well, I made Biggest one. Completely different kid. I joke not. I don’t even recognize him. He adores it. He will change his attitude and put a smile on his face for one tiny, shiny, sticky, star. SUCCESS!!!

I suppose I should explain the “success” of it all. Since I have implemented it, the last two days I have been woken up with a “good morning Mommy!”. I have been asked “Please may I have Cheerios? And milk please? Thank you!” I have been assisted in the diapering of Littlest. I have not been screamed at. I have been listened to. We have learned from listening. We have discovered that Mommy may, in fact, be smarter than her bleary eyed, pajama-ed, zoned-out, zombie-like, coffee-sucking self appears. I have been voluntarily asked for help before things are thrown. I have been waited for patiently. I’ve even had coffee made for me! Admittedly that last one is with intense supervision, but he asked to make it for me. Clearly, there is a God. Actually, I jest. I knew that already. What I meant was, it’s a freakin’ miracle! *

*Disclaimer: Since I am under the influence of intense excitement (and a bit of surrealism), I am not responsible for over-underlining, over-bolding, or over-italicizing.

Long story short: My crabby, typically aggressive child with behavioral issues specifically towards me… has been transplanted with a nice, polite, almost-three-year-old. And that, folks, has allowed me to remember the patience with which my parents raised me, as well as find some of  the person I used to be. That in itself is the best gift of 2014 so far, and not only will it be hard to top, but it’s only January 7!

On a serious note, I read an article that made a huge difference in how I approached Biggest. After reading through it, I completely identified with it. Sitting on my computer as often as I do (with no ill intent, of course), I generally have little attention for Biggest and his needs, and when I do have attention, it’s not patient attention. In order to avoid the “terrible twos”, as they’re so often referred to, my mother once told me that you have to let them try. The twos get terrible when you don’t give them the opportunity to try things for themselves, and discover their own identity. I thought I had that sorted out, but I had a chat with Biggest the other day, and I tried to get him to understand that regardless of what was going on, his attitude was his own choice to make. He could choose to have fun with something even if it wasn’t originally enjoyable. He had no idea what I was talking about. I read this article a bit later in the day, and I thought back to all the times I have been short with him because he wasn’t going fast enough, and I thought about all the times he tried to make a task fun, and all the times I squashed his fun because I was irritated. No wonder he had no idea what he was supposed to do. No wonder that aggression was directed specifically at me.

So while I poke fun at the chore chart being the reason for the change, it’s actually because I’ve changed. I’m allowing him to have fun. I’m allowing him to try. And I’m showing him how to have fun to. Besides, stickers are awesome. It’s interesting, being on this parenting journey. In raising children, you find out just what kind of a person you really are. And who you want to be.

Ok. I’ve had my sappy moment.

Now for that something called Janumas! Janumas is what we call our Christmas with my sister and her fiance. His traditions are specifically on Christmas Day, so being the relaxed people we are, we made January 10 our Christmas with them. Hence “Janumas”. That, people, is on Friday and I’m ridiculously excited! I have a ton of baking to do today, and some cleaning. Want to see my list? Oh well, sucks to be you, you get to see it anyway!

– clean the bathroom (Yes to Lysol wipes!)
– clean and vacuum the master bedroom (I’m pretty sure a bomb went off in here.)
– clean and vacuum the office (So many spilled Cheerios!)
– vacuum children’s room (Cheerios again, eventually I will have the willpower to stop Biggest from snacking throughout the house, but for now, it suits me fine to vacuum later.)
– tidy and vacuum the living area and entry (Cheerios AND dirt! Yes!)
– dishes (This doesn’t really need a side note, there’s 4 of us and no dishwasher. Ergo, I’m the dishwasher. My husband does dishes too, thankfully!)
– mop kitchen and bathroom floor (Thank the Lord for the invention titled “steam mop”)
– bake (Finally! Some Christmas goodies!)
– prep and store Littlest food (He’s getting tired of cereal, and I don’t blame him. Who wants cereal when you can have mashed peas instead?)
– write and mail New Years cards (I’m not good with the whole Christmas card thing)
– run errands (I’ll have to do this after the kids go to bed, with that list, there’s no way it’s getting done if I have to take them out with me, I might be awesome *cough* but I’m not that awesome)
– collapse on the floor (The End!)

See? It’s not so bad!

The only thing that hasn’t worked out the way I wanted in regards to Janumas is, for the 6th “Christmas” in a row, my husband and I spoiled each other’s gift by trying to buy the same thing. I kid you not, it’s happened 6 times now. That’s as long as we’ve been together. I’m hoping maybe by the time we’ve had 50 years together, we’ll be so senile that we’ll have a Christmas where it doesn’t happen. Actually, funny story, a friend of my mom’s is to the point now that she buys what she wants, and gifts it to her husband, and he does the same. They are then genuinely surprised, and they both get what they want. It’s hilarious!

Janumas tied in nicely this year, because I’m meeting them the same day I have to take Littlest for his consultation. They know the city, so they’re going to make sure I get around okay, and they’ll come back here with me when we’re done. Easy peasy! Now why am I scared shitless? I did, however, get a very comfortable carrier so I didn’t have to haul wads of baby stuff by myself. It’s a BECO Gemini, and it’s a 4-in-1. That means it faces you, it faces out, it can secure a child on your hip, and you can wear your child like a backpack. The only thing to it’s detriment is that it’s going to take some time to figure out how to work it by myself. Admittedly, the first time I tried, I was wearing my winter jacket and gloves, which may not have been the best time to attempt it.

Alas, I now must take my leave. That list isn’t getting any shorter, and my coffee timer (that is, my time that I am allowed to drink my coffee in peace without interruption) is beeping. Which means that I am about to be interrupted. In fact, I hear a screaming Littlest, and I’m not sure what’s going on, as he’s discovered screaming tantrums. So much for that one resolution…

Cheers!

The Handler.

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