After an afternoon of fun playing in their bedrooms, the living room and under the dining room table (where else could one possibly play "drive-thru"?), I advised my kidlets that it was time to clean up. Realizing that they had some hearing issues, I repeated my request, but this time with a dire warning: "Uh, darlings, if you're desirous of any ice cream before bed, you're going to have to stop what you're doing now and clean up. With no more fooling around. Serious. No joke."
Hannah immediately set to work. Seth went to his bedroom, leaving the much tougher task of cleaning up under the dining room table to Hannah (although it was most of her stuff), and promptly got busy.....playing. After catching him at least a half dozen times playing and not cleaning his room, and giving him a full 15 minutes to start, I told him that I was setting the timer for ten minutes. That's it. He had ten minutes to clean his room or he wouldn't get ice cream.
Thus the whining began.
And the race was on.
Lest I seem heartless, this is not a new issue with Seth. I knew if he concentrated that he should have no problem cleaning his room in ten minutes because it really wasn't that bad. Unfortunately, it seems to take something this drastic to light a spark under him.
It took only about 30 seconds for him to start his usual, "mom, I need your help!" line. This time I refused. Both his dad and I help him about 90 percent of the time when he asks, which is probably 50 percent too much. This time I resolved that should he not complete his task in the allotted time that he would suffer the consequences.
That is, until Hannah started her campaign.
I absolutely love Hannah's tenderheartedness. When Seth is hurt and crying, she often cries with him (not out of anxiety, but out of true compassion). Not long ago Seth fell and banged his nose on the floor. Hannah promptly started crying, so I reassured her that Seth was going to be fine. She informed me, however, that the reason she was crying was because she was the cause of his fall (albeit accidentally) and she felt bad about it.
So, at about the seven-minutes-to-go mark, my little softie started begging me to let her help Seth finish his room. At first I said no. I really felt that if necessary, Seth had to learn the hard way. She persisted and I became torn. I thought: What is more important? Teaching Seth a lesson (that he likely won't learn anyway), or endorsing my girl's desire to help? After a moment's contemplation, I told her that she could help him, but that she wasn't to do it all, because this is also a favorite pastime of his.
And what do you know? With 45 seconds to spare, they cleaned up his room. Big sister pitched in, all the while encouraging little brother along, and together they did the job. And all three of us were happy. Big sister got to help and encourage her little brother, little brother got some help AND worked alongside his big sister, and mom was happy that the work got done.
We all had ice cream. Hannah got a BIG thank you hug from Seth. Everyone had the warm fuzzies.
The evening ended perfectly with daddy coming home just in time to read Thomas The Tank - we have a huge book of a kazillion stories - not one story, not two stories (my usual amount), but FIVE stories!
Hmm.....for some reason, they really, really like it when daddy makes it home in time to read Thomas to them. Can't imagine why.