Sunday, November 7, 2010

Homemaker Monday: Kids Paying Consequences

Welcome to the 108th weekly edition of...

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YOURS: (Today's "YOURS" will be posted soon....)

MINE: So today, I'm going to journal my Saturday, which will include an anecdote about how my kids had to pay consequences.

My day started at about 6:30, as it usually does, because that's what time Baby Hippo awoke. I went to the kitchen where John was already up making breakfast for the twins and 4-year-old boy, which gave me time to make my favorite breakfast of all time, a half peanut-butter and honey sandwich with psyllium husks.

Once I was finished eating, I made the dreaded chore list. Each kid has personal and family chores. The family chores must always be finished first, then the personal chores can be tackled. The personal chores include cleaning their bedrooms, hanging up and folding their laundry and cleaning their bathrooms. Thus, if they stay on top of their personal responsibilities during the week, they won't have much to do on Saturday. And that never happens.

They each have four family chores, which entail deep-cleaning two rooms and their parts of the kitchen and babysitting Baby Hippo for 30 minutes each, thus affording me time to do my work as well. Their family chores include...

The living room
The dining room
The hallways
The entryway
The basement hallways
The basement theater
The basement game room
The basement bathroom
Their monthly kitchen responsibility after breakfast, lunch and dinner

These chores are evenly divided among the four able-bodied children, and while one of them is babysitting, I do my chores, which are laundry, cleaning my room and the 4 four and under's room, John's office and loft, sweeping the kitchen and doing any baking that may need to be done for the day.... and of course, lots of breastfeeding and diaper changing.

Now, I mentioned sweeping the kitchen. As you may remember reading from previous posts, my kitchen is about 600 square feet in area, and it takes me about 15 minutes to sweep it after a meal. I have special sweeping songs that I listen to while I sweep, mostly by Cold Play, and I usually go through three of them before I'm finished. Thus, because I spend about 45 minutes a day, at least, sweeping, it's extremely important to me to have a proper broom. I love a good plastic broom, with clean flexible plastic bristles that can really fling the dirt and food where I need it to go. However, when these bristles get old, they become stiff, and maybe even a little sticky, and make sweeping much less pleasurable.

Recently, all three of my brooms (and I have 3 so we all can sweep without hindrance) began to wax old and I asked John to buy me three more during one of his trips to the states. He gladly did, and I happily swept with my new clean, flexible brooms. However, not a month later, all of the brooms had disappeared. I told the kids that I know that they always leave them in their rooms, so they must be there and they had better start looking or they wouldn't get any computer time that day. They all did, for more than half an hour, but to my dismay, not one broom could be located.

The last thing I wanted to do was to ask John to buy me three more brooms, at the cost of $30 total, after he had just recently bought me a set. However, I couldn't go on sweeping with the one old sticky, stiff broom I had saved from my previous set.

Now normally in a situation like this, I would tell the kids that they would need to earn the money to replace the brooms via working for me or John. Their options are usually being my servant, giving me massages, doing chores, or babysitting. I pay them $5.00 per hour. This time, however, since I was feeling poor, I decided that they were going to have to replace the brooms using outside funding. I just didn't want to pay, regardless of whether I got a massage or not.

So I've told you that we've found the best doughnut recipe ever, right? It's HERE. And I suggested that they make these and sell them around town. I told them that I would be going to the dentist and that they could start on it while I was gone. They were all very angry about this, especially after having had to do their chores in the morning. I was relentless, however, and insisted that they WERE going to pay for the brooms they had lost.

So I went to the dentist and had an interesting experience there. First I must preface this part of the story by telling you that I would rather go to the gynecologist than the dentist. I absolutely loathe dental visits because I had a horrible experience with a dentist as a teenager, and I have been scarred for life. While at my visit on Saturday, I told as much to my dentist, saying it was nothing personal, and he laughed.

My dentist is a handsome man who is about ten years my junior (it's still difficult to get used to the fact that many of my doctors and dentists are now younger than I am) and he began his work on filling two cavities by numbing my entire lower jaw, drilling, filling, shining a blue light and who knows what else. As I lay there listening to him speak Spanish to his assistant, I began to feel relaxed and a little tired, so I closed my eyes. My mind began wandering and I remembered a time when one of my daughters, at the age of five, had fallen asleep for about twenty minutes while our dentist filled a cavity. I couldn't imagine how someone could fall asleep with someone sticking hard, vibrating metal tools in their mouth, but she had snored away until he was finished.

The next thing I knew, I was choking on my own saliva and when I stopped and opened my eyes, my dentist asked, "Did you have a nice nap?" I looked at him in a daze, and after he removed his tools and the two cotton logs from my mouth, I asked if I had really fallen asleep. He confirmed that I had.

Okay, I guess dental visits aren't that bad after all.

When I returned home, the kids had done jack, but I continued to be unrelenting and INSISITED that they WOULD sell baked goods to pay for my brooms. None of them liked the idea of making doughnuts, but they did think they would have success selling other baked goods, so the 15-year-old girl reluctantly made four loaves of white bread and the 10-year-old boy made a quadruple batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. He only made one mistake, well no, two. He put 4 tablespoons or baking soda and salt instead of 4 teaspoons. However, I was able to salvage the dough by adding a cup of sugar and a tablespoon of vanilla. The cookies were super flat, but they still tasted very good.

When they were finished, they went to the homes of people from our church, told them they were raising money to replace their mom's brooms that they lost, and came back in a matter with about twenty minutes with $30 profit. It was a profitable evening in many ways, one of which was that I don't think they will forget to put the brooms back where they go from now on.

Thanks for listening.

OURS: Okay, it's your turn now! Can't wait to see what your homemaking tip is. Thanks for visiting and linking up and I hope you have a wonderful Homemaker Monday!

PSSST! To find great deals on fun stuff to do in your area, go HERE!


Katie Riddle said...

LOVE hearing about other family's parenting solutions! So great. :)

alessandra said...

What a story!
It seems impossible to me, to miss 3 brooms, may be beacuse I live in a relatively small flat, but once I've lost the extension of the steam cleaner, and I was not able to retrieve it.
Such a mystery.
Fortunately I didn't have to pay it to myself, only, when I use the steam cleaner I have to bend ;)

collettakay said...

So where did they go? They can't have vanished into thin air.

Did you ever find them?

a moderate life said...

Hey Mamma! My mother in law had seven children and she tells stories like this of the chore days and keeping the kids organized. What great advice. They really do learn from their experiences like this. My homemaking tip is all about figuring out what healthy pantry items you must have to be able to whip together meals in an instant. All the best, Alex@amoderatelife

Tasha Lehman said...

Love that you had them make money to replace the brooms! Great parenting, right there!

Keeley said...

Surely the brooms can't have disappeared into thin air? They must be *somewhere*. Can't wait to find out where they turn up.. =)