Monday, March 30, 2009

I haven't given up teaching my children habits. Just took a break, I guess. I think I've maintained fairly well the progress I made with Peanut Butter and his tantrums, though we have by no means conquered it, and many days I feel exhausted by the end of the day. He wants control, and some of the things he demands are so unreasonable I don't even want to give him the satisfaction of talking it through, but when I don't he makes me pay by wailing and throwing himself around. When I reach the end of my rope, I lose my determination to remain consistent, and that's when we both lose.

This week I want to begin establishing the habit of orderliness. I have long understood that the better I train them (and myself) to clean up after themselves (and myself) the easier life will be for all of us. It seems so simple to form the habit of putting something in its place when we're done with it, to clean up all the mess after a project is finished before starting something else, but deadlines are the enemy, places to be at certain times take priority over putting everything away before we leave, and I will always struggle with rightly assessing how much time something will take and even how long we'll need to get ready to go someplace. Still, I reason, eventually I will have to take the time to put things back where they belong, so if we can learn to do it immediately after we're done using something, our house should remain in respectable condition most of the time, and when an unexpected visitor comes by, I can genuinely welcome them in without shame or embarrassment. And it helps my own mood when our living quarters are orderly rather than chaotic.

In step with focusing on orderliness this week, I plan to make a simple chore chart (our very first!) for Christopher Robin and Peanut Butter to follow. I showed Christopher Robin how to make his bed a couple of weeks ago (actually, he informed me, he already knew how), and since then he makes it as soon as he wakes up in the morning, because he likes to and it fits his nature. It's such a sweet surprise when something is implemented so effortlessly. He will be the child who never has an unchecked square on his chore chart, because he likes to do his chores and check things off so well. My free-spirited Peanut Butter is only two, and not at all interested in systems or ways of doing things, so I think I'll keep his chores as simple as possible, and he'll do them because I'm with him, giving him personal attention because of it.

I'm excited, all the while knowing that to really make this one a habit will require not getting tired and letting things slide, which is my tendency, and also planning ahead to avoid running out of time, which happens to me constantly.

My own bed, made this morning, a habit I have managed to form in myself, to do first thing as soon as I wake up, and what a difference it makes to my bedroom all day long!

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