....cleaning topic continued

Today we needed to do some cleaning. I was dreading it because of the previous post. I didn't know how to approach the tasks with Leah. I wanted so badly to have success and not failure in our work together. At lunch, Chad talked to the girls about the afternoon and what was expected of them. An hour later, we started in their room. I am happy to report that Leah worked hard! I will never fully understand why one day is better than another, but here are some insights into the success:

• I was in a good mood. Who wants to clean with a cranky mommy? I didn't bark orders at Leah. I tried to go slow and give her one task at a time.

• I worked with them. The three of us worked together while the baby napped. We were able to focus on the job. When 15 month old Logan is awake, it is a constant job to keep little things out of his path, especially in the girls' room. It is easy to get distracted and frustrated.

• Chad and I prepped them with both encouragement and consequences. Chad let them know what was expected of them before we began. Leah knew he was going to ask how it went when he got home that evening. I only had to use this information once though, "What are we going to tell Daddy when he gets home about how you helped?"

It worked! Glory, hallelujah, their room is CLEAN and there were no tears, revoked privileges, spankings, or yelling.


days vs weeks

The weeks are absolutely flying by. But the days are so long! Each night lately, bedtime has been a battle with the girls. I read, sing, lay with them awhile, and then try to leave. They always need more... questions, drinks, whatever. I can barely make it out of their room without a clinched jaw and one of them in tears.

Another challenge. Leah will not help clean up. Melody has always enjoyed cleaning up, so she does it all of the time. She keeps their room tidy with no instructions. The other day we had a showdown after they had played with Play-Dough for two hours. Leah would NOT help clean up. I told her that if she didn't help she would not be able to spend the night with Grammy as planned. She chose to forfeit the privilege rather than clean up. !!!???! In the end, she still didn't help clean up either. I've been thinking on it all week and I can't figure it out. How do I motivate my four year old to work hard? Is this a birth order thing? I want to empower her to be a hard working and capable person. The other day she said, "Melody likes to clean up. I hate to clean up." I do not like those labels.

Any insight is welcome! Thanks!


back to school

July is here and I can't stop thinking about Back To School. It is a loaded phrase, isn't it? School supplies, fall weather, new shoes, what to wear, school buses driving by, first impressions, new names, but most of all -- the end of summer. We have decided for Melody to attend public school for first grade. Never before have I considered summer time to be short. This summer the weeks are clicking by faster than I can believe. August 15 is approaching with the speed of a Boeing 777.

Kindergarden was a good year. I will remember it for the highs, not the lows. Logan was tiny. Melody was able to spend everyday with him at home. They have bonded in a way that makes a mother's heart sing. Learning how to read happened side by side in the leather chair. Some reading days involved writhing on the floor in a puddle of tears. (Her, not me.) Those days would hit me hard. I would have a sinking feeling in my stomach for the rest of the day. Questions of How To Motivate My Kid were a general topic between me and my friends.

Children's literature became a topic I could discuss with others. Before last year I did not know of one children's author. Now I have several favorites. Robert Mcloskey, Virginia Lee Burton, Ludwig Bemelmans, and of course Laura Ingalls Wilder to name a few. I do not feel alien in the public library anymore.

Here is a photo of us doing school on a blanket in the front yard last September.

And one of Logan in his month four splendor.