Thursday, April 4, 2013

Great expectations.

On Easter, we spent nearly all day at our friends' house. Finn missed his nap entirely and by the time we left, it was already way past bedtime. Then on the way home we realized Liam hadn't eaten any real food all day - just Easter candy and crackers.

Even though we had had a really wonderful day, I suddenly felt awful. Here it was Sunday night, almost Monday morning, and we were nowhere near ready to start the week. Our house was trashed, one child was malnourished, the other was sleep deprived, and I had no idea what we had planned for the coming week.

Normally I'd just roll with it (what's a messy house and a missed nap when we've had a whole day of fun?!), but not this night. Nope. For whatever reason it really got a hold of me. I felt so irresponsible. I wanted to shout, "Who's in charge here?!" But since I knew it was me (dangit!), I did the only other logical thing and got mad at everyone around me to distract myself from my uncomfortable feelings.

Happy Easter!

The whole thing got me thinking... maybe I haven't been clear enough about my expectations? I mean, to me it seems pretty obvious that when there's a table full of food, some of which has been prepared specifically for you, you should probably know to help yourself to some and eat it. But did I actually make that clear to Liam? No. Maybe the same goes for cleaning up. And school work. And getting out the door. And...everything. Maybe the reason he isn't following "the rules" is because we don't actually have any.

I ran it by him. He gave me his stock answer. "Yeah, sure. Why not..."

So we talked about some of the things that might be good rules but didn't really set anything in stone. Except for one thing. Each morning I will give him a list detailing my expectations for school plus whatever else he has to do (like take a shower or go to karate). Once his list is done, he's free to do whatever he wants. (Unless I ask him to do something of course. Then he either has to hop to it or talk to me about why he can't at the moment.)

By our second day of The List, Liam was a believer. When he got dropped off after Science on Wednesday I met him outside so I could thank his friend's mom. As we turned to go inside, Liam stopped and said, "Would you like me to give you a piece of advice?" I had no idea what was about to come out of his mouth. I mean, what seven year old says something like that to an adult? I was hoping he wasn't going to criticize her driving when he said, "If you want to take things easy like we do, you should make a list. That way you can get all of your work done first thing in the morning and have the rest of the day to play!"

(AND it will keep your Mama from panicking that she has completely dropped the ball and will most likely prevent her from feeling so irresponsible so gets mad at you for no reason! Because all play and no work is not that much better than the other way round.)

He posted this by the back door...

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