Luke, my third child, likes to make a mess with his toys and does not clean up. He procrastinates so much I end up cleaning up for him just so we can move on to the next thing of the day. (I know this is not a good idea, totally my fault.)
Sunday night Luke was in the playroom with his trains and tracks, one of his favorite things to play. It was time for bed so I asked him to clean up.
“But I’m not ready to clean up, Mama,” he said.
“I still want to play.”
“I don’t think so, Luke. It’s time for bed.”
He stared at me with a disagreeing look, but said, “Okay, Mama.”
He turned away from me and I watched as he continued to play. He got down on the floor, his face eye level with the trains. He continued to attach more trains, knowing he was supposed to be cleaning up, but having no idea I was watching him.
“I give up. I don’t know how to clean up,” Luke said.
“What? You can’t give up on cleaning up. Nice try.”
In my eight and a half years of parenting I’ve never had any of my kids say they give up when they don’t want to do something. Oh, sweet Luke! You are something else!
Nice try, buddy. I take full responsibility though. I created him to be this way. He knows that if he doesn’t clean up, I will do it for him. Time to follow through, Denisse. This third child has it way easier than the other two did.
“You can do it. If you made this mess, you can clean it up,” I told him.
After a while of whining and crying, and a LOT of redirection and threats to lose toys, Luke finally did clean up. Hopefully I can continue to follow through.
Dear Lord, Help me to be consistent with my expectations with all three of my children. Although sometimes its easier to do things myself, I know there is value in training them to do right on their own.