This is for my friend Kris, who says I never update my blog. I'm updating RIGHT now.
So I'm seeing a new therapist for Holland and I have to say I'm loving all the housework I'm getting done. I just put my feet up and, BAM! three little punks argue with each other and then are sucked into the housework vortex. The new rule is if any of them argue, fight, hit, don't do a chore or something they're asked to in a timely manner, or general naughtiness, I assign "repair work". They have to repair our relationship by performing housework or chores for me. They all love it so much. Each one has complained that it does nothing for them. I say so sweetly that it's not meant to help them, but to repair my relationship with them.
The first time Holland really broke the rule by hitting me, an automatic hour, he had to pick up everything he had trashed and then do his repair work. I made a list and just propped my feet up on the couch and played on my phone. See, the key is delivery. The therapist says my reaction plays a huge part in getting Holland's behavior to improve. Now, I already knew this, but it's getting to that point that was the hard part. When you are faced with a kid who complains and yells from the moment he wakes up until he goes to bed; who you are in constant fear of him hitting you or hitting his siblings; or destroying something in the house, then it gets really tiring trying to stay calm and pleasant in that kind of environment. My reaction is supposed to be "oh, honey, first you need to do your repair work, and then I'd be happy to let you do the computer." It was interesting, though, this first time he had an hour's worth of work. By the end of the hour, he was chatting pleasantly, asking me things, crossing the jobs off the list. I was totally ready to give him the priviledges back.
Still, he gripes and complains every time we start a new repair work session. He's adament he's NOT going to do it. I just let him wander around and when he tries to do something like the computer, or tv, I physically block him and say sweetly, "remember your repair work and then you're free to do the computer". He gets so mad and tells me to stop talking in "that" voice. It makes me want to laugh because he's totally noticing the difference! I've had to also make him wait to eat dinner because he had done something and of course that meant me stopping eating as well. That's the fun part. I get to suspend whatever I'm doing and make sure he's doing the work. He can get very controlling over meal time. With the gluten free diet, my cooking has changed quite a bit. He doesn't always like what I cook and many times I've just let him make himself something to avoid the argument. The new therapist probably wanted to crawl out of her skin when I told her that. "No, no, no, dear. He eats what you all eat." "I know, but he physically pushes me around and tries to eat something else." "Then you stand in front of him and prevent him from getting it." So here I am in the kitchen, trying to wrestle away food from an almost 13 year-old who won't eat chicken tortilla soup! It's nuts. But, after a few times of this, he did sit down and munch on a few things. Cried the entire time. Made dinner so pleasant. What chef doesn't want their patrons to cry over their meal as a way to thank them?
My favorite repair work was the time he had to sweep both the kitchen and nook floors. Then I had him on his hands and knees mopping just the kitchen floor. When he was done, he asked what he should do with the water. I said, "oh, just leave it on the counter. You'll probably need it later." Sure enough, he needed it. When he had to clean the nook floor, he picked up the bowl of used soapy water and said, "is it okay if it's cold?" " Oh SURE!", I said. Then today, his repair work involved washing all the doors, inside and out. Then I had him wash every single post going up the stairs and the whole molding from top to bottom. Nice and shiny now.
Just waiting for who'll mess up tomorrow so I can get something else cleaned.