Thursday, July 24, 2008

Our New Obsession

And I do mean "Our." Sometimes you just know the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

My son is so like me in many ways.

One of my favorite things to do is to complete a to do list. I actually will write items that I've already completed onto a to do list just so that I can cross them off. A white board is nice so that I can reuse it (thanks to my SIL for giving me a portable one for Christmas two years ago), but sometimes it's not as satisfying to erase something as to scratch it off.

Mister Man is the same way. He loves order and having things done the right way.

When reading through Tip Junkie last week, I spotted the various types of chore charts that people (those creative ones anyway) had put together. As I thought about it, I realized that this could possibly work well for us in many ways.

1) I hate whining. Two and four year olds whine when they're nagged to do something. And when they're tired. Or hungry. Or bored. Or really sometimes for no good reason at all, but I digress.

2) There are things we forget to do some days that really ought to be done.

3) One of Mister Man's favorite things to do is practice reading. EVERYthing.

The only problem was that I'm not nearly that crafty. And cheap (my friend's prefer to call it frugal, but tomato/tomato, I think).

As I continued to peruse her site, I discovered a version that I thought I could handle. Plus, my dad LOVES and constantly eats popsicles. As in a couple boxes a week. And Mister Man loves to use the leftover (washed) sticks to make things when he's playing with his trains.


Mister Man and I had fun deciding what his jobs were. Some were easy, like putting away breakfast/lunch/dinner dishes away. Others are ones he needs to do that we aren't always the best at, like practicing piano. And we just gave him the job of checking the cats' food and water every day. Oh yeah, and making sure the toys are picked up every night before bed. All in all, there are a little over ten, although most are ones he's been doing for a long time.

I am debating whether or not to put clear nail polish atop the Sharpie writing. I've already learned that they smear if you get them a little wet. Fortunately, Mister Man doesn't seem to mind.

The first thing he does in the morning is run over to the chore sticks and plop the "dirty clothes in hamper" into the YES cup. He's so proud of himself for doing his jobs, and there's no whining about them. If I need him to do something, I just direct him to the sticks, and he figures it out himself.

His are all red popsicle sticks. See, I know my children well. As soon as Little Miss saw that Mister Man got jobs to do and had sticks that he could put into a YES cup, she wanted her own. She can't read, and many of their chores (dirty and clean clothes in the appropriate places, dishes into the dishwasher, toys put away, etc) are the same. Color coding was the easy answer. Hers are all purple, and everyone's happy. Mister Man is even willing to share his YES cup.

On Tuesday night, my mom watched the wee ones while I went to my softball game and my husband was our umpire for the night (and a very serious one, I might add!). She put the wee ones to bed, and all was well.

About ten minutes later, she heard the door to Mister Man's room opening. She assumed he had to go to the bathroom or get a drink, but she went up to check on him anyway. She saw him walking down the hallway taking off his clothes.

Grandma: Mister Man, are you hot?
Mister Man: No.
Grandma: Uhhh, what are you doing then?
Mister Man: I forgot to take a shower, and I want to put my stick into the YES cup.
Grandma: Sweetie, it's too late tonight. We can count the washdown you had after swimming as your shower. How's that?
Mister Man: Ok.

Oh, and I found him still mostly undressed Wednesday morning. Awww, such a sweet kid, right?


Happy day! My system board came in today, and it was replaced in my computer. I can once again unplug my computer and not have it instantly lose whatever I was working on. Yay! Now I just need to figure out why it keeps randomly turning on the screen saver as I'm working. Gotta love typing and a black screen suddenly appearing!


Angela July 24, 2008 at 9:25 PM  

I love this system! Now see, this is a system I could actually implement, even for myself, without getting all bogged down in making the system so perfect that I forget to actually DO anything. Hmmmmmm.... Simplicity is genius, right? Or something like that!

Karen July 24, 2008 at 10:12 PM  

That is a fabulous idea! I could see some of my kids really going for it. The other ones are money motivated though.

Angie's Spot July 24, 2008 at 11:03 PM  

That is such a great system! My girls would eat something like this up. Thanks for the idea!

And glad to hear that you're (kind of) back in good computing land. That's weird about the screensaver.

Cookie July 24, 2008 at 11:34 PM  

That is a great idea. My kids were just getting bored with our sticker chore chart. I'll have to give this a try!

MaBunny July 25, 2008 at 7:50 AM  

Oh how cute! Maybe I can get Nicole into this habit?

Kori July 25, 2008 at 8:08 AM  

Oh how I miss the days when my kids were excited about helping and doing chores. Now that they are 11 and 9 not so much helping going on. More complaining than anything. lol

Jeff and Charli Lee July 25, 2008 at 9:42 AM  

Ah, to be 4 again. If only I could manage my chores with popsicle sticks.

Claremont First Ward July 25, 2008 at 4:32 PM  

Great system. Smart mom!

I appreciate you taking the time to visit my blog when I was featured on SITS. I look forward to many more visits. Off to read more.

KatBouska July 25, 2008 at 4:54 PM  

What a neat idea! And I love that he's so into it!!

Michelle July 26, 2008 at 9:48 PM  

Angela - First of all, I didn't make this up. I TOTALLY stole it from one of Tip Junkie's suggestions. But so far, so good. Knock on wood!

Karen - We aren't yet old enough to be motivated by money, but that day will come. Especially with Little Miss!

Angie - The screensaver thing apparently isn't just me. I didn't even finish explaining the problem before the tech guy cut me off and told me who needed to be notified to fix it. At least it isn't ONLY me this time?

Cookie - The sticker chart will be coming next, I'm sure. I used to think that I could find one system that worked and stick with it, but I keep realizing that things will only work for awhile before needing to be changed up. The fun of parenting, I guess!

Mabunny - I'd be interested to see if a 9 year old would go for it. Then I can just recycle my systems in and out over time!

Kori - Welcome! My dream is that the wee ones will just come to see doing chores as an expected part of being in our family. You're totally disheartening me here!

Jeff - I'm sure you could find some way to pull it off. In fact, I'd LOVE to see you try!

Angie - Welcome (and I never knew there were so many Angies and Angelas until I started reading more blogs!). Congrats on your feature, and I hope you visit again!

Mama's Losin' It -- Welcome! I love how into it he is, too. Day 5, he still goes to check the chore sticks all the time. But piano hasn't been practiced in three days. I need to start making an issue of him not completing the chore sticks, I think.

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