Because I shall say this only once! Well, that at least was the plan. I don’t know about you and your campaigns but around here consistency and persistence are our watch words, together with big dollops of follow through. I think it’s the follow through where I am apt to trip up and fall down.
A case in point would be a recent campaign that I instigated in an attempt to return some order to the chaotic state that we currently live in. It was quite a small campaign in the great scheme of things, very simple. The new campaign for the children was to pick up their Webkinz and Pokemons and put them in a laundry hamper, a large one, rather than leave them strewn all over their beds and carpet. It is so much easier to make beds and vacuum every day if you avoid having to wade your way through a morass of wildlife.
Hence just before our night time routine I told them about the new campaign. I made sure that I had everyone’s attention first before making my proclamation:-
‘Listen very carefully because I shall say this only once. Are you listening? Can you hear me? Right. So before you come downstairs tomorrow at 5 o’clock in the morning, first you must put every Webkinz, Pokemon and other fluffies in this large laundry hamper. Do you understand? Can you do this?’
Once a positive response was extracted, I moved onto the next child and repeated myself because although I was sure to ‘only say it once,’ I did in fact say it three times. I said it loud enough so that each of the three times that I said it, the other two could also hear it, because that’s what we call positive re-inforcement around here. I made it plain that consequences for non-compliance would follow. What consequence? A time out for all malingering fluffies, although I failed to specify how long that ‘time out’ would last.
Thusly the following morning I was confident that henceforward my domestic duties would have halved over-night.
Sadly, as it turned out, yet another campaign failed at the first blip.
The back story for anyone with special needs children.
It was pretty much doomed without a prompt in the morning, a prompt that I did intend to give but failed to give, due to the reality of two wet beds and copious amounts of dog vomit. Very unwelcome gifts at 5.04 precisely.
I think that this is an all too familiar reminder that in an idea world, I like to set up my children to experience success. Although the prompt was in the ether, in reality I failed to perform.
To be fair, I think any child would have a hard time remembering something new from the night before, especially if the new thing was a chore. I did follow up and remove the toys to a spot out of reach but I know that they won’t be there as long on a ‘time out’ as if I had other children.
Other children might accept this as a commensurate consequence but not my children. If I had done this a few years ago, screaming meltdowns would be more or less guaranteed but these days we have words with which to express our disdain more logically. Logically, they believe that the toys are being punished for their oversight, which therefore is patently unfair and the cause of great angst.
I share this because parents of special needs children frequently feel like failures. It can be very de-moralizing and debilitating to stare at the faces of defeat, especially when they are of our own making.
Even after all these years I still get it wrong and I still make mistakes.
Meanwhile I have to design “three original cakes” for the fundraiser at school, which is great because I’m much better at cakes than kids. The theme is ‘fiesta’ although I personally wish it was ‘siesta,’ any ideas gratefully received. All I can come up with with a cactus with great big pokey spines.
You can’t have your cake and eat it too……if you give it away.
Last three days of the bowl “giveaway/freebie.”