Im taking Jumbo (11) and his friend Ads down to the caravan for 5 days. It's a caravan on the coast (click here to see pic). It's about 6 hours by car.
I am a mom. But I expect kids to do their share of the work, as much they are able. Even a 5-year old can wash and dry the dishes. The older they are, the more I expect them to do.
The other nitty gritty is: I am a mom. I shop for food and I'm in charge of nutrition. I do not DO kids who are fussy eaters.
This is how I am to my own kids. With kids that are not mine, I give them some slack for a while. As soon as I know them well enough, I give them jobs to do, and I make them EAT THEIR VEGETABLES. Take it as a sign that I care.
Yesterday we had Ads over for the day, and to be perfectly frank, I am a little concerned. Here is an actual transcript.
"Ads do you want to bring your bike on the trip?"
"Can you ride your bike with the cast on your arm?" (He broke his arm, but he's still riding his skateboard, so its obviously not that bad).
"Maybe. I dunno."
"Well, I'm taking my bike. There's a spot on the bike rack if you want it."
I thought, first of all, mate, you are not wow-ing me with your manners. And second of all, you're not helping me to help you. That makes me frustrated.
Then we went back to our house. Jumbo had a few chores to do, which took 2 hours. While Jumbo worked, Ads wandered in circles around the house, fired a noisy toy gun over and over, and paced up and down the hallway.
Finally I said, "Ads, if you help Jums do his jobs, he will be done much quicker." (Well, Duh!)
And this is what's bugging me too:
Earlier, his mum assured me: "Oh no, Ads is no trouble Michaela, he eats anything."
But when I tried to give them lunch yesterday, I found out the truth. Ads does not eat quite a few things.
He does not eat madarins, pears or mushrooms.
WHAT KIND OF PERSON DOESN'T EAT PEARS??!!
Turned out, there was a long list of things Ads doesnt eat. Here it is:
anything with spices
WELCOME TO OXYGEN BOOT CAMP, Adsy my boy.
I am your Captain, which means I have the money, I choose the food, and I drive the car. All other jobs are totally negotiable and may be delegated to children.
On our little trip, Ads may learn valuable skills such as: shopping, cooking, sweeping, dish-washing, bed-making, and taking initiative.
Do you remember when I taught Band Camp for a day (read it here) and my secret weapon was Name Tags?
My secret weapon which I am taking on this trip is: the White Board.
We all know that white board marker pen is erasable, right? But get this: Once you write a timetable up on the whiteboard, it's almost like it has been set in stone. It is erasable, but no kid ever uses the eraser. If you write on the White Board, you are the Boss. More parents should know this. Pass it on!
I can see it now: I'm riding my bike around the lake, wind in my hair, not a care in the world. Ads and Jumbo have finished the breakfast dishes, made their beds, and are consulting the white board as to their choice of fun activity.
WELCOME TO MY BOOT CAMP, where kids have jobs, and parents have a life!*
(* Thank you to my wonderful, wise, funny husband for helping me to get my own life back!)