molding a helper

I am trying to get Lyd to be more willing to be my helper.  She has resisted this in the past.  I ask her to help me, and I usually get something along the lines of “I’m SO tired!”  It’s really been a struggle, and I wasn’t sure what to do about it, so I usually just backed off.

However, now that she’s started school, she is learning to enjoy “jobs.”  They have a rotation of various jobs in her classroom, such as line leader, snack helper, pet feeder, calendar helper, etc.  At first, she didn’t like the idea of this at all.  But now, in her third week of school, she’s really starting to enjoy those things.  She was even looking forward to her jobs this week.  It was kind of funny: She thought that she would be wiping off tables after lunchtime, and when she helped me with the dishes Sunday night (yay! She helped!), she wiped off our kitchen table VERY industriously, all the while saying how she was going to get to help her teacher wipe off the lunchtables at school all the next week.

So today, she came home a little disappointed because she was *only* the snack helper in the kindergarten room, and the bigger kids got to do the job of wiping off the tables after lunchtime.  When I told her that she could ALWAYS be my kitchen helper and wipe off our own table, she perked up and said, “That’s right!  I can always be your kitchen helper!”

Lyd was also very helpful tonight when I had to take out all the recycling.  She truly did help, and even though she didn’t want to carry the bin of tin and glass because it was noisy (but it was light, and that’s why I gave it to her), she did it.  I made sure to heartily praise her for doing something even though she didn’t want to!  But, taking out recycling with mom is kind of fun, especially since it was twilight, and she could chatter away to me as we walked.  Plus, a big, full, orange harvest moon was coming up over the East Bay hills tonight, and we got to watch that together.  It made for a nice mommy-daughter time together, and she didn’t gripe about helping me!

I am so grateful to see this change in her.  I suspected that this kind of change would happen once she started Kindergarten, but one can never be sure, you know.  However, she is doing SO well at school, and I can already see how much more grown-up she is becoming.  I am so proud of her!

Funny story: At supper tonight, I told Lyd that she had to eat her casserole before she could have any peaches.  I told her that specifically, and I believe I even had her repeat it back to me.  But wouldn’t you know, we had barely finished giving thanks for our food when she had popped a bite of peach into her mouth.  I gently called her on it right away, and told her that now there would be a consequence.  I thought for a moment, and decided to give her a spanking.  “No, no, I won’t do it again!  I don’t want a spanking!” she wailed.  I didn’t relent, so she got one swat to the behind.  She was sad, but okay.  I then gently added, “Your other consequence is that there won’t be any dessert in your lunchbox tomorrow.”  Well, did the waterworks ever open then!  After a few seconds, I said, “That’s enough crying,” to which she responded in a pathetic voice, “But I’m not going to get any dessert in my lunch tomorrow!!!”

JJ and I looked at each other, and each of us almost burst out laughing.  JJ had to leave the table to keep from losing it, and I had to turn away towards Baby J and pretended to occupy myself with her while I stifled my laughs.  What a girl!  If I had known that losing her dessert would have really “hit her where it hurts,” I would have skipped the spanking all together, and I would have just gone with taking away her dessert.  I certainly will be using that consequence in the future!

I also told her tonight that she had to finish her casserole by the time the big hand (of the clock) was on the 12, which gave her 15 minutes to eat.  If she didn’t finish by then, I told her, then she was going to have to eat the rest of it for breakfast.  “I don’t want to eat THIS for breakfast – I want to eat breakfast food for breakfast!” she loudly proclaimed.  And, she dived right in and finished it in time.  However I did have to tell her she couldn’t talk while she ate.  It’s not that I believe in “children should be seen and not heard,” it’s that if she starts talking, she gets so distracted that she forgets to eat!

What a girl.  🙂