Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Last Bit of School Shopping

We had to go to the Leesburg Outlet today. I had one of those reward certificates for $20 from Eddie Bauer that was due to expire tomorrow. Daughter was excited -- she's independently wealthy these days because people pay her a ridiculous amount of money for babysitting. (Don't get me wrong. I think my daughter is wonderful and a great babysitter, but I find it hard to believe that people think $10 per hour is REASONABLE for a teen sitter!)

Son was not as happy, but I bribed him.

But to back up, I was really ticked off at both of them when we headed out. They knew we needed to go, and they knew what they needed to accomplish in order to be ready. They were well on their way when I went upstairs to get a shower. When I came back down I discovered they had both entered time warps in separate locations in the house, but both with the effect that NOTHING else had gotten done. No dishes cleaned up, no bird taken care of, no trumpet practice, no meds, NOTHING. And one of them wasn't even bright enough to hide the evidence. The book that caused the time warp was face-down on the kitchen table next to the dishes! (This is not the point at which you reassure me that at least she's reading. My problem is to get her to stop reading long enough to do anything else productive).

So in my "mom of the year" fashion, I went on a rant. "You are both old enough to use some initiative around here to clean things up! I don't ask you to do much -- just the things that you directly benefit from like cleaning up your own dishes or taking care of your own bird!" That was for the daughter. Then the son walked in, and I lit into him. "Were you down in the basement (remember the lair?) playing with LEGO?" He nodded. "Darn it! You could have spent that time practicing trumpet and we wouldn't have had it hanging over us all morning while we're out shopping!"

I could see Daughter about to yell back -- but going shopping was at stake so she held it in. Later she commented, "I hate it when you do that. You sound so judgmental."

Mom: "Yep. I am judgmental at that moment. How else should I sound? Judgmental isn't always a bad thing! It's like tolerance -- it's in the eye and hands of the beholder. Plus, I've tried sweetness and light and asking politely and what happens?"

Daughter: we forget.

Me: Yeah, so what's your idea for something different?

At this point son interjects, Mom, you're showing great Boy Scout leadership skills by asking us to come up with a solution.

Me (about to explode out my ears), really? I wonder why the Boy Scouts teach that. What would you do to your patrol if they were as lazy around a campsite as you two have been this morning?

Son: I'd leave their stuff on the ground and let them deal with the raccoons in the middle of the night.

Me: That's not an option for our home.

I did buy them lunch, they both got the remaining school clothes they needed and I apologized for the rant, but not the content and asked them to help me come up with solutions. I also pointed out that neither one of them likes to be corrected. The daughter emphatically agreed with that. So, I said, "okay, it's simple. If you don't want me to correct you ever again, just pick up your stuff and put it away! End of problem."

Daughter: "Oh, I guess that might work."

So this evening as I walked by her room, I looked in. The door was open -- honestly! -- and it was back to looking like a tornado went through. Sigh.

I feel so sorry for the man she is going to marry someday. He will get an amazingly gifted, incredibly intelligent and horribly messy wife who has no clue why anyone else thinks the mess is bad. I can only hope that God blesses her with destructo-toddlers so I can just laugh and say "I'm not coming over to fix this."


1 comment:

Quilldancer said...

But, Mom, they will learn responsibility and how to clean and self-motivate, but likley it won't be until a couple of years AFTER they've left home.