Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Don't let Him Get Hit in the Head With Any Balls!

My oldest son just left to go to a baseball game with my husband. The last thing I said to them as they walked out the door was, "Don't let him get hit in the head with any balls!" And I wasn't kidding. I swear, if this child loses any brain cells he will melt into one huge hot mess. An even bigger mess than he already is, I mean.

Thanks to my youngest, anxious, sensory seeking son, our lives revolve around lists and regimen. Our boys have daily tasks listed on their individual clipboards, for which they are rewarded for completing. I know. I can hear you cringing now. I never thought I would bribe my kids to do "what needs to be done" either. I got over it, and so should you. For the peace of my family and to salvage what sanity I have left, we moved to doling out treats and small coins just to get my boys to brush.their.teeth. For the love of God boys, just put your shoes in the closet and hang up your coats!

Now we use clipboards, which they LOVE. And by LOVE, I mean they run to them first thing in the morning and first thing after school, and right before bed, to read their lists and mark off their tasks. They compare treats and my youngest little non reader is even sounding out the first letter of the words on his list, so that he can be sure to check off the right task. Beds are made and stuffed animals are picked up off the bedroom floor. Sure, it looks like a monkey did the job, but I don't care. Shoes, coats and backpacks find their way into the closet and, usually, I don't have to beg someone to set the table for dinner. The dinner dishes are miraculously cleared and the dog is fed twice a day. And I do very little to assure all that magic happens.

So we live and breath lists. My super smart 7 year old reads his list and completes his tasks.

1. Do your homework without complaining- to him this means lots of procrastination and sighing, and sometimes, even a little arguing. It also means leave your homework papers on the kitchen counter, dining room table, and bathroom. (These are all places I found homework this morning alone.)
2. Help clean up dinner- he reads this and hears leave all the place mats out, put the ketchup in the fridge only if it is a Monday, drop food on the floor and leave napkins out, which, basically means put the paper napkins directly into the dog's mouth.
3. Throw snack trash away- or just simply toss it in the vicinity of the trash can. Which translates to "place directly into the dog's mouth".
4. Brush your teeth- that's right folks, I am rewarding my son for brushing his teeth. I do hope the Mother of the Year people will be able to find me at my new address.

He means well, and he tries so hard. But Lord this kid is clueless sometimes! He walks into the kitchen and just stands there. He runs upstairs to get something for me and comes down empty handed. He leaves everything he owns scattered throughout the house. My precious boy- so smart, but no sense.  His straight A homework is crumpled and battered. The only time he misses a question on his work is when he is working so fast that he literally misses answering the question. He can't remember to turn in homework or write his name on a test, but he has the wherewith all to collect telephone numbers from friends on the bus so I can set up play dates. Which, by the way, he no longer refers to as play dates. Just pull the knife out already!

Some parents worry that their kids will grow up and one day leave them behind to pursue their dreams. I worry that I will have to rent the dorm room next to my son's and dole out M&Ms to get him through the day!

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