Dora is Gender Neutral, Right?

In the week or so since the last update, this household has undergone a multitude of changes. Oh, how I wish I had the time to share all of them with you.

The laundry room, which is now stocked with a mask, rubber gloves and tongs, can no longer contain the mass of clothes that get shuffled through on a daily basis. It has not only oozed out into the hallway but has also taken over entire rooms of the house. This is even with the help of 3 little laundry elves. Yep, I have relinquished control over much of this never-ending duty. The kids are allowed to fold, hang up and put away all of their own garments. They love it! And, of course I love it...until I open a drawer. Yikes! However, I have come to the conclusion that clean clothes are more important than neatly organized clothes. At least for the kids. When do chores stop being a prize that is fought over and become a burden? Oh, and since I was informed that Keith has unfolded his neatly folded boxers for the last 10 years, I've decided I am no longer folding any of his clothes. I put nice stuff on hangers, but the rest gets tossed into a basket for him to NOT fold before he stuffs into drawers.

My white leather retro belt has found a new home in the van. I’ve had to pull over while driving several times to use it. Although there are instances I would like to use it for a needed or deserved spanking, especially when the sibling rivalry has reached its climax in those close quarters, our discipline approach does not include it. The soul purpose of this accessory is to reinforce a seatbelt. Yes, on occasion one of the kids doesn’t want to get in or stay in a carseat. Shocking, I know.

After making Ivan go commando (Again! I am horrible.), I just restocked his drawer with a plethora of Avery’s Dora undies. I mean, it’s Dora, not a princess, and I picked out the ones that, at a quick glance, could pass for a boy’s. When questioned by my decision, I told Avery we were sharing, which won her over and I’m pretty sure made her feel like the greatest big sister ever. Oh, and Ivan did the little naked happy dance of a 3-year old when he reached for a fresh pair the next day and saw them. In the end, I think that was good parenting. Maybe?

Garris is learning to share, a huge feat seeing how he used to attack those who mistakenly picked up one of his favorites. I’m not certain whether it’s the result of time and his realizing the object isn’t being given away…or the result of the nice “Rewards” charts I fixed up. Each child has 2 chores plus 3 skills, like sharing…or using an “inside voice” for Garris. He is so loud. Ivan’s chart lists “Seated at meals” because the boy’s got ants in his pants. Avery is working on breathing and using her words when she gets mad. We are so much alike that Keith is literally scared. Anyway, the charts. For now, I’m not so much marking it with little Xs or checks, but using it as a visual reminder for me and them, pointing to it when we address a named issue. While we haven’t even discussed a “reward,” Avery is positive she’s getting one and is meticulous about the checking off on hers. Oh, that girl! Hmm…I think I might like my own chart as well.

My naptime perils continue with little change. About once a week all kids are in their beds simultaneously, not raising too much of a raucous, for one hour of the 2-hour afternoon rest time. Other days I am not as lucky though and one or more requires my attention or physical presence the entire time. For instance, one day I stood guard watching a child who I had sequestered in the laundry room. It was my last move before hunting down some type of harness you see used for the electric chair. Most days his limbs require outside interference in order for him to lie still long enough to drift off. But this particular day every muscle, down to his little toe, was wiggling. Even in the laundry room, my prisoner found a way to play with the doorknob and a tiny scrap of lint. I couldn’t even stop him! I was just amazed. I know there must be a solution. He can’t be the only child to exhibit this behavior during naptime. Before the change of location, he was rolling his body on the floor after I removed or blocked off all toys. Froggy hop, inch like a worm, twirl, hop on one foot…all of it from wall to wall in a successful effort to stay awake.

Thanks to Keith’s toothbrush in the kitchen towel drawer, I have been surpassing my daily goal…usually. I’ll admit 2 days this week they received one thorough cleaning, which occurred before bed. So, I need a new one. A goal, not a toothbrush. A daily shower is a tad ambitious, so I will not even dangle it in front of me as if it were a goal I could attain. It’s not happening. Let’s just go with more than 2 per week. If not for me, at least for my husband…and the kids…and maybe my gym gals…oh, and pretty much anyone downwind from me. Last week I took those 2 showers on 2 consecutive days. Woo hoo! Wait…should I celebrate that or be embarrassed by it? Who cares! I took a shower 2 days in a row!!! Not sure that has happened since before we left for Ethiopia. Wow, my life is really coming together.

At this point, I am more likely to sit on the toilet seat at the gym than on one in my own house. Of course, I keep Clorox wipes in every bathroom and use them several times per day. But with my aged bladder that was once crushed by the weight of a baby for 9 months…plus the fact that my potty breaks are limited with 3 destructive forces surrounding me all the livelong day, the urgency with which I run to the toilet does not allow time to clean a space for me to sit…and sometimes not even the time to check if the space is indeed clean. Better safe than sorry, right?

Oh, Keith has shown them how to use the toilet courteously: lift seat, aim, pee, wait, wait a little longer, wipe rim with toilet paper, put seat down, flush. Wow…right? I am one lucky gal. But, urine…on the seat…isn’t the worst thing I might encounter. Need I say more?

If I come across as sounding too negative, I have not given you an accurate picture of our family. So, my next post will be 98% positive. Get ready for some good stuff.

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