Thursday, October 23, 2008

On Gnat Traps, Chore Cards and a Sister-in-love

So it was one of those days that started before the night had even ended. A screaming, crying baby on the other side of the wall, brutally jerked me from dreamland and into the shaky world of just-opened-my-eyes-what's-going-on-in-here.

As I laid in my warm, soft bed next to my nice, strong husband, I listened to the baby cry. I was listening but yet I wasn't, you know. Finally, Toby made me aware of reality and said something like, "You know, I think he was sick last night when I put him to bed." Then I was awake.

And boy, was Toby right.

A 101.8 fever and a sopping wet diaper and pajamas, definitely had put this baby over the edge. A clean diaper, a cool onesie, a drop or two of ear drops in each ear (wasn't sure if he had an ear ache or not) and some Motrine, made his little world a lot better. Topped off with a cuddle from mommy and daddy and then getting some warm milk, he thought life was pretty good again. It's always nice to know you make a good difference in someone's life.

I came back to bed after putting Alex back in his and laid on my pillow and immediately noticed Toby had instinctively turned the radio on apparently when he woke up. All kinds of cool topics were being discussed and then the news came on.

I get completely distracted from being able to sleep when the radio is on. Toby turns the radio on and then goes to sleep. It's like his little signal to the whole world that he is sleeping... "I'm sleeping! Can't you hear my radio is on?!"

Tossing and turning and trying to zone out the radio, did not make it easy for me to get back to sleep. Finally, I asked my husband to turn the radio down which he did in a rather fumbling, sleepy way.

A while later, Toby got up to leave for work and Landon came in our room and informed me he would put his DRY pull-up away when he got home from work with Dad. I thought it was cute that he made a point to let me know he wasn't neglecting his work for me to do.

As I was trying to pull myself together from the sleepiness that had invaded me, thanks to the early morning interruption of the sick baby, Janae came in right after Landon. She had a bowl of left over grape fruit peels somebody had left on the counter and she wondered if she could have some.

I told her she could have a grapfruit and then I started getting up to get ready for my day as well as Janae's. She came in shortly after carrying a pint jar and she wondered if she could eat cereal in it. She said she thought it would be fun. "Oh child..." I mused in my half working head.

Slipping out of bed made me suddenly aware that something wet and cold had been spilled on my bed and on my clean sheets! It was pink in color and looked like juice but smelled like pickles.

As I investigated the kitchen, Janae and my bedroom, it all came clear.

Step 1: I had made a gnat trap with red wine vinegar and soap. I had used a banana peel as a lure into my trap which was in a bowl in the kitchen on the counter.

Step 2: Somebody saw the fermenting banana peel and decided to add to my newly acquired compost endeavors so they put their grapefruit peels in it. (like I would be making compost...?!)

Step 3: Somebody else saw the grapefruit peels and got hungry and used the bowl as an identification tool to explain to somebody else what they wanted to eat.

In the process of Step 3, the gnat trap was spilled on my bed.

And now somebody has 2 loads of laundry, thanks to all the bedding that will get washed today.

After I got Janae her breakfast, I checked on Alex and noticed Landon's pajama stuff on the living room floor. I also noticed the "dry" pull-up laying on the carpet. I picked it up: it wasn't dry. Not. at. all.

My kids have no concept of wet or dry. Seriously. They think something is wet or dry based on what you want it to be. If you send them to wash their hands and they come back with completely dry hands, they say they got their hands wet with water if you asked them if they used water. If they do use water and they come out with sopping wet hands, they say they dried them on the towel.

And if you ask them if their pull-up is dry in the morning, their answer is completely relative to what they think you want to hear.

Moving right along to post breakfast time, I looked over to a very quiet Janae and found her heavily licking the sugar shaker. Thinking I was just going to have to wash the lid, I was a little disgusted to find that she had heavily saturated some of the sugar inside. What is it with this girl? She is a sugar addict. She definitely has a sweet tooth.

So, after the 2 loads of laundry she created for me this morning and the contents of a sugar bowl wasted, I think she's ready to do her fair share of work today in order to make up for the extra work she created for me.

Which brings to something I've been wanting to post about lately...

Toby woke up one morning with a profound thought and immediately stated to his sleeping wife, "Honey, chore cards; that's what you need for the kids!" I was still dreaming of sleep and wondering what time of night it was so the topic of "chore cards" was as far away from my mind as the desire to get out of bed was.

Not Toby.

He was as ambitious and excited as Toby gets... which on a scale of 1-10 and 10 being the greatest, he was at a 2+, maybe.

After the fog cleared and my mind grasped the statement he had said to me while I was still sleeping, I set out to make these "Chore Cards."

First of all, I wrote a list of jobs my kids are capable of doing: tidy room, unload dishwasher, set the table, etc.

Then I wrote each job on a recipe card.

Next, I decorated each card with stickers that somehow correlated with the chore. I didn't have a sticker of a puppy so for the "feed and water dog" card, I used a sippy cup sticker, a cookie and a ball. It was tacky; not creative, but it worked.

Finally, I had them laminated and they are sturdy and kid-proof!

The lamination part is what made them so wonderful and easy to use and I was so glad my sister-in-love did it for me. She often uses an over-night service plan that she has for basically everyone she knows. She's the kind of person that if you need it tomorrow, she'll stay up all night and get it done for you. She's determined and stubborn and always gets the job done right. Most people know us as sister-in-'laws' but 'law' makes it sound so legalized and like we're only connected through the law. Or like some certified paper is what makes us sisters. When in reality, a sister is someone who basically shares your life with you and is in your heart at night when you go to bed and then in the morning when you wake up, they're still there. Just like your sister always was when you were a kid. Life's ups and downs, pursuits and set backs, successes and failures are all shared best with a sister. Because only a sister will stick with you through all that. Needless to say, I am very blessed to have a sister like that who even was capable of laminating my Chore Cards.

Using these cards has definitely given me a better perspective on my day. I don't have to think, "okay, what job can I give Landon to do right now?" I can just look at my stack of "Chore Cards" and give him a task. The kids immediately picked up on the "Chore Cards" idea and wouldn't do the job unless I gave them a card. That's why the lamination part is so nice because I don't have to worry about stickers getting peeled off, or cards bending or tearing. I can hand them their card and know they'll give it back in the same shape I gave it to them in.

My brain is randomly picking topics to blog about this morning and before you wonder how in the world this train wreck of thoughts was ever an official train-of-thoughts, I'll assure you that I just have a lot on my mind that I'm sorting through. I can literally be thinking of one bright and vivid revelation and suddenly, poof! it's gone and I totally forget what was just an important topic.

So, I'll close by saying my world is still a little crazy and my thoughts are still piled on a table somewhere and there are many pieces to the puzzle that I think are still missing.

I wonder if the kids took off with them just like they took off with my gnat trap?


Pat VE said...

I enjoyed your whole blog, but wanted to comment on the sleep/radio anomoly. John used to have a 11:00-mid-night dialysis (peritoneal--at home) that he had to run before he went to bed. He would play the radio "softly", but even in the next room, I often could not sleep because of the noise. NOW, I go to sleep with the radio on and sometimes wake up anywhere for 12:30-4:30 am before I realize it is still on. Isn't it a woman's prerogative to change her mind.
Also, about the gnat trap--I am guilty of dumping Sarah's out. Us youngun's and oldun's don't know about these things.

Jean said...

Chore cards sounds like an excellent idea particularly the laminated part of the idea. I'm glad to hear that your kids are enjoying them.