This morning, around 3 am... I had a brilliant idea.
The boys have the day off from school and are holding down the fort today - Paul and I are working.
Because of the forecast for up to 15 inches of snow tonight for the region... we may be headed to our Christmas destination tonight... which means much must get done around the house.
My idea? To leave our 9-year-old, Zayd in charge.
I am so smart.
At 3 am it occurred to me that maybe Zayd will be more amicable to helping around the house, if I give him the authority to be responsible for it. Zayd is incredibly stubborn. I can't emphasize that enough. If he doesn't want to do something... it is World War III to stick to our guns. When he was younger, he'd throw tantrums - SEVERAL a day - that would last for HOURS. HOURS. He is much better now, but he still has a temper... and he is still stubborn. And if there is anything he hates more -- it's cleaning. Particularly dirty dishes. Anyways... I think my plan will work. He'll help out this time.
Also - putting him in charge will make Evan and Zach crazy... so there are those additional perks.
This morning, before Paul and I left for work, I gave Zayd the news.
Me: Zayd? I want you to be in charge today.
His eyes grow wide.
Zayd: In charge?
Me: Yup. You are in charge of everything today. You da' man. If we are leaving for Cavalier soon, there is a ton that needs to get done before we leave. So, I'm going to write it all done, and I'd like you to figure out who will do what. I would like you to make sure it gets done properly. Like, the way I would do it.
He is standing up taller and a smile spreads across his face.
Zayd: Okay. What do I need to do?
Me: Let's write it all down.
I pull out a spiral notebook and start making a list.
Me: One. Everyone needs to pack. I'll list everything you need. So... 2 pairs of underwear.. clean underwear...
Zayd gives me his cute snort laugh.
Me: Three sets of warm socks, three shirts - LONG sleeved, one sweatshirt, snowpants, gloves, the warmest hats you have...
Me: Yup - coats. And... a couple of things for nighttime. Okay?
Me: Now you'll need to make sure Ethan has everything packed.
Zayd: Okay. I'll make sure.
Me: So... number two. Clean the kitchen. And I mean... CLEAN the kitchen. Dishes out of the dishwasher, dirty ones in, counters wiped down, clutter put away. Sparkling clean.
I continue writing down all the particulars.
Zayd: Evan will clean the kitchen. He is the best cleaner.
He is right about that.
Me: Basement. It is a pit.
Zayd: I'll do that.
Me: Okay - but I"m not talking throwing things under the couch clean... I am talking clean and organized. Your cousins will be here as soon as we get back from Cavalier - so it needs to be ready.
Zayd: Got it.
Me: Basement bathroom and main floor bathroom. Totally gross.
Zayd: Yah - there is pee everywhere.
Isn't there always?
Me: So, no cutting corners. Mirrors and counters wiped, toilet cleaned, floor wiped with Mr. Clean... new towel on towel rack.
Me: (sigh) And... bedrooms. All bedrooms need to be cleaned - especially yours.
Zayd: (sigh) I know.
Wow. He took that really well.
Me: You really need to organize it. You've got crap under the bed, next to the bed, on the shelf of your bed. Your cousin will be sleeping in your room - so it can't be like that.
Me: No Grayson.
Zayd: Thank God.
Me: But, Zach and Evan's room needs to get cleaned too - because Yaso and Anya will be sleeping together in one of them.
Me: If you have any problems, you let me know - just call me at work, okay?
Me: Now Zayd... it is important to remember that good leaders don't "boss" ... they lead by example. So you need to think about how you are going to get your brothers to help you.
Zayd: I know! I know....
I organize some things in my bag, grab my coat and scarf, get my cup of coffee and Paul and I are about to go out the door...
And Zayd is studying his list. Ethan is next to him on his tip toes trying to see what he is doing. Ethan is always VERY aminacable to following instructions.
Ethan: I'll clean! I am good at cleaning!
Zayd: Uhm... you should clean the mudroom. It is messy too. And you will have to clean your side of our bedroom.
Ethan: Right. We have a line in the middle. I'll clean my side.
Me: Oh... one more thing. Zach is still responsible for watching Ethan. You make sure he watches Ethan... and you help him. Zach also needs to make sure everyone gets fed. K?
Zayd: Okay mom! (he starts writing this down).
I head out the door.
Paul drives me to work today - my car is in the shop because my dad hit it... that's another story.
As we are pulling out of the driveway...
Paul: Shoot. The garbage. It's garbage day.
Me: Okay - I'll call. .... Zayd? Someone needs to take out the garbage.
Paul: Metal handle towards to street. Make sure to put it at the end of the driveway or the city will write us a note.
Me: Metal handle towards the street - that is very important. Evan knows how to do it - ask him. K?
Zayd: Uhm... mom? How do you spell all that?
Me: Don't worry about writing it down... just ask Evan to do it now. K?
Zayd: Okay. Bye!
We pull away from the house... 30 seconds later my cell rings.
Zayd: Mom? Zach doesn't believe I am in charge.
Me: Tell him you are.
Zayd: I did. He doesn't believe me. - He is right here. You talk to him.
Me: Zayd is in charge.
Zach: Are you kidding me?
Zach: But he thinks he can tell me what to do.
Me: He can.
Zach: You are kidding me.
Me: I am not.
Zach: Why are you doing this?
Me: Because if he is in charge, then he'll work too.
Zach: Fine. Then I don't have to watch any of them. Zayd can watch Ethan.
Me: Nooo... I told Zayd that he was responsible of making sure you watched Ethan.
Me: And feeding everyone... You need to feed everyone.
Zach: Fine. Whatever. Bye.
He hangs up.
I turn to Paul.
Me: I really think this is a good idea. I think Zayd plays his role of victim a lot because we don't allow him to feel like he has some control over his life. I think he will be very responsible. He's not a great follower, but maybe he'll be a good leader?
Paul: Yeah. Until he throws one of his major tantrums, starts hitting and screaming at his brothers...
Yeah - this should be great.
Me: (I start laughing)... Hmmm... this should be interesting...
Paul: You've created Lord of the Flies.
Me: Oh well!