I knew it was going to happen. Nobody changes habits of a lifetime without some bumps, bruises, and major caterwauling protests. Today they have all ganged up on me to try to nudge me back to the remind, remind, remind, rant, rant, rant, scream, yell, lecture, and cuss mode. And today...well, today was not a good day to try it. I was up too late last night, not enough sleep today, grouchy, sticky, overheated, and just in one of those everybody leave me the *! alone today moods.
So EB has decided that she just isn't going to do an ounce of housework. She'd not going to bother pretending to try to do it. She isn't bothering even to lie about it (the classic is Of course I cleaned the bathroom mom. Nevermind about the trash all over the floor, the moss growing in the toilet, and the black ring around the bathtub. TRUST me, I cleaned it.) She's also not bothering to brush her hair or worrying about personal hygiene in any way. This is a child that, lip full a-quiver and with tear-filled eyes, swore yesterday that she had the worst case of cabin fever it was possible to have before breaking out the AK-47 (okay, she didn't use that phrase and doesn't even know what an AK looks like, but I follow the sentiment). At the time I pointed out - and I actually used my really-truly reasonable voice - that the keys to the front door and the commuter vehicle are in her hands. The housekeeping duties are not onerous, she has a toothbrush and a hairbrush and access to warm water and soap AND knows how to use them all, and the homework duties aren't exactly back or brain breaking. Yeah. So today she decided to full-on test my resolve against screaming and throwing heavy objects by partially cleaving to the dining room table, hair all-afrizz, book in hand, and oblivion to her surroundings in every line of her being. Deep breath. Not entirely successful at keeping my temper today. Suggested that she take her book and her attitude of I'm not doin' nuthin and herself and put them all in a room where I don't have to look at her doin' nuthin quite so blatantly.
MB will work for incentives. His incentives. He actually said, a few days before I went on strike, that he didn't see why I insisted on them doing chores if there wasn't some kickdown involved. As close as I can remember, his actual words were along the lines of "What's in it for me?" Which is when - and I'll try to give y'all the boiled-down version - I pointed out that every. single. time. we've worked from an incentive perspective I get a few days to maybe a full week of exemplary behavior, followed by a few days of half-hearted stabs at doing what he's supposed to, sort of a lick'n'a promise approach to everything, and then there is absolutely no attempt at doing chores, hygiene, or homework but there is a LOT of playing dvds, video games, computer time, hanging upside down by the curtain rods, whatever. Uh uh. No more. Do the chores etc. because you are supposed to. That is what civilized members of caring families do. He's been haphazardly caring for the dishes, doing them semi-regularly (which is an improvement, no disputing that) but washing only about half to three-quarters at any given time. The Banshees and I have already had the talk where we all agreed that half-done isn't good enough and won't earn you any attaboys. I told them all that I have rewarded half-done with hopes that it would encourage all-done (and all done correctly) but all I got was a lot of half-done. I was grouchy today and I owe DBS pizza (with all of the OT that man is doing, he wants pizza, he gets pizza) and I was grumbling that I was going to have to rearrange the dirty dishes and wash the counter before I could get around to cooking and then I had to figure out how to cook soap in a dirty disorganized kitchen. Did somebody summon a Tasmanian Devil? Because the minute "pizza" and "soap" popped up MB hit the kitchen like an extremely motivated tornado. I cook for kids who have done what they're supposed to do, and allow them to carve soap if we have any on hand. Head, meet keyboard. I really am going to have to quit creating incentives that are so obviously labeled carrot.
I'm afraid to look at the laundry, so I'm not going to do it. I'm going to cook pizza. I'm going to cook soap. I'm going to have a long, long shower and hope that it makes me feel better. I may have a nap. But I'm not looking at the laundry.