A rainy indoors weekend, Dad is away, and cleaners are coming Monday and the house is a mess. This all adds up to : video incentives to clean up!
Today our one kid-outing was to go to Barnes & Noble, to get the remaining Harry Potter books I didn't already have (episodes 5, 6 and 7). The plan was also to get gift cards for Gabriel and Julian's long-suffering teachers, and thank-you cards for the kids to write in for their teachers. I forgot about the cards somehow, so we're in for another trip tomorrow (or make our own cards at home tomorrow), but we also went to Blockbuster to rent the first Harry Potter movie.
Mean old me, I insist on LOTS of cleanup and laundry before movies. Gabriel had the least to do of all the kids, and he has a point: why should I clean up after them? I hated as the firstborn being expected to do more and clean up after my messier younger siblings. Katrina makes by far the biggest toy-messes, but I tell Gabriel that since I have to help her clean up, then he's helping me, not her.
And Gabriel did help a lot tonight. He cleaned up parts of her room (things that are hard for her to do), he took out the garbage and recycling, cleaned up common areas of the house, folded and put away all his laundry.
It's tricky with him since all his toys were put away last week for his offenses at the CDC -- another subtle side-effect of the oh-so-NOT-simple consequence of putting all his toys away: now he's immediately the best-behaved about cleanup, since he has almost nothing to do. But he still was by far the best tonight anyway.
Julian and Katrina were on notice that there was no movie for them unless they helped, and both of them blew it off. And naturally, both threw major fits when it was bathtime and they realized they weren't going to get to watch the movie. Katrina accepted reality quickly, but Julian -- oh my, he screamed, and I mean screeched at the top of his lungs for no less than an hour (including a 5-minute stint out on the front porch in his pajamas). He was outraged and stunned at being stiffed the movie, insisting that he'd "done enough." He refused to listen to reason that he'd ignored me when I'd told him to clean up something, as usual blaming it all on someone else.
On the outside, it appears easy: "State the consequence, follow through, that's it!" In practice, having your kid SCREAM for an hour is extremely disruptive. It's not "that's it," though I sure as heck wasn't about to back down. It'd be worth it if he meant he learned his lesson and will comply next time, but I'm sure I'm in for the same exact painful hassle again.
There are good reasons I wanted a 2-story house in this 1-story ranch-house area, and tonight that played out. While Julian screamed his head off in his room, Gabriel and I started the movie. I'd planned to only watch half of it - it started way late after all, but he'd really helped me above and beyond and it was so nice watching together, that I said "eh!" and let him stay up really late watching the whole thing together.
I had the Harry Potter books 1-4 because I loved them, well before having kids. I remember thinking that they'd really appeal to kids, so what a treasure for me to experience that kid-appeal first-hand with my own kid now. It's about time Harry Potter fever swept this household!