At times, parenting feels like a battle. Okay, most days. We’re not talking big arguments, or anything like that. But there are plenty of battles- fighting to get the kids ready to go to school, making sure they have a decent lunch and teach them that you can’t have cookies for breakfast.
Some battles you lose. Like maybe letting them watch one more episode of Thomas the Tank Engine, or reading a storybook for the 50th time.
But others, you just can’t. This last week I’ve been working on organizing the toys- to try to tame the dozens of trains and gazillion toy cars into something manageable. I’ve been making headway, but the kids still weren’t helping me clean. I’ve given up on the Little Kidlet for now. I figure that if I can get the Oldest Kidlet to clean regularly, that eventually he’ll start doing it because he does everything his older brother does. Example? Today OK decided that he didn’t want a bath, so LK immediately joined in on the chorus of “No! No bath!” even though he loves them, and actually wanted a bath.
Every day, we ask the Oldest Kidlet to help clean. He tries to get out of it, and usually TheBoy and I do most of the work. Okay, TheBoy does most of the work. So last night, I thought of something a little different to try.
Like me, the Oldest Kidlet is unbelievably competitive. The newest phrase in his vocabulary is, “I win!” He’s turned everything into a race. While I’d used it to get him dressed in the morning, it only occurred to me last night that I could use it to get him to clean.
It was simple. I just looked at him and said. “I bet I can clean this room before you. I’m going to win.” He told me that wasn’t going to happen, and he was off- putting toys back in their right containers, telling me all the while that he’s faster than fast, and he was definitely going to win. Which he did. But really… in the long run? Seems like I’m the one who really won this battle.