I had a whole post that I wanted to write about the growth of the girls, but I'm shelving it till next month, as that is our 5 yr anniversary of the girls being home.
But I did want to update you on Mother's Day weekend (in case you were wondering). It went well. Friday tulips (my fave flower) and a card were delivered to me. LGA brought some lovely artifical flowers in a homemade box with a cute ribbon and her pic on it. That started a war when BGA had wanted a dollar from Dave, who didn't understand what she wanted it for, to bring me a chocolate covered pretzel the school was selling. This is the first year that she hasn't made me anything as her teacher was sick this year and she was disappointed. She well made up for it in hugs and kisses this weekend, so I'll take those any day. :-)
We went to our favorite italian place for dinner and then to ice cream after, on Sat night after Dave got off work (late, we had a late dinner, and you could tell LGA was running out of steam). Sunday, we just hung around the house. My back was still bothering me and so we just hung out as a family, Dave put together a new book shelf (ours buckled and fell down when it was moved for flooring) and hung a couple of pics for me. We had Togos sandwiches for lunch and then we did Applebees takeout. The girls and I ordered ribs and kidded each other about the sauce on our fingers and faces, but we dug in. Applebees has dessert shooters so we had those for dessert. The kids split an adult plate of ribs, they are very much into wanting to skip the kids meals, but BGA only eats enough for the kids meal. If you get her an adult meal she can't finish, so we've been finding ways of them splitting plates when we go out. It was a nice day and very low key, which was nice. LGA came home with a small canvas bag yesterday that had glitter on it and said, "I (insert a heart here) you Mom." SO cool.
Now on to the chores part. I have resisted a few years in getting the girls going on chores. I really needed to do all of them for the bonding and attachment to happen, but now as of last year when my mom died and the girls came with me to her house to pack it all up, they had to do stuff to help me out. There were days we didn't have anyone helping and I had to have them help me. So I started having them do a few things on their own over the last year till we started amping up what chores they did in Jan. The reason I am writing this today is I saw an article from Empowering Parents about parents doing everything for their kids. I have never really done that, well, I did it first few years, but then gradually backed off, when I saw BGA throw her backpack at me after school and say, "here mom." Right there and then I decided things were going to change. So over the last couple of years, they have been responsible for their stuff. OCD LGA is very good about this, BGA not so much. She has jackets on the floor, shoes thrown everywhere, pjs' on the floor, etc. So once LGA moved out, I started going through her room each day and telling her what needed to be picked up and making her spend a few moments to do it. She hates it, but she does it.
We did a list of chores for the girls, and they were able to do them pretty easily. They like doing chores for some reason, they have always wanted to help. So why not take advantage of that? Some kids hate doing stuff like this, but mine do for some reason.
The girls list of chores included:
Clean bathroom (I do the inside of the toilet, she does sink, counter, mirror, toilet and wipes down tub)
Keep room clean (ie pick up stuff off floor, etc.)
Feed pets (girls alternate)
Clothes in hamper
Help with Laundry
Keep room clean
Wipe table down after meals
Swiffer the laminate floors
Use the pet cleaner tool to get pet hair off the furniture (she loves this)
Clothes in hamper
Help with Laundry
These chores have worked well for them. When I was in bed, they brought me meals and my water bottle, etc. I was really proud of how they helped. If I sat in a chair they'd bring me pillows to help prop me up. BGA brought her bed pillow that my mom had and she got when we cleared out mom's house. She said I needed it and should use it. She was right. :-) Dave and the girls really took care of me and the house and I know it was hard, and sometimes it was hard for them to see me in pain, but they did a great job.
I'm really proud of how the girls are helping and in the maturity I see with them. There are still issues and one I really want to write about for BGA, but am not sure of the words yet. It's not always smooth sailing, they fight A LOT, they whine, they throw fits/tantrums, etc. It's very hard some days, and some days I want to pound my head against a wall. But maturity has come for them as well, and I find myself in awe of the girls they are now, versus how they were at 4 and 6 when they came home. I love that they are at a stage that we can go places and do things and for the most part (with the exception of LGA who still throws fits/tantrums) we can have a good time together. I see the humor they have (they both have good senses of humor), and how much fun it is to shop with them now, they have ideas of what they want to wear (versus just saying, "yeah, that's fine. Ok." That used to frustrate me no end so I'd just pick their stuff for them). They're funny and sweet, and frustrating all in one. But now that I can devote my full attention to them and am not torn between my mother and my brother, I am enjoying the time we have. I really had a hard time with them over the years and was frustrated a lot. To hear LGA say when asked to do something, "Ok mama" just makes ALL the difference to me. She still has a hard time transitioning between activities, but she's getting better. I know to warn her ahead of time and to make sure she knows when it's time to pick up the play stuff, and to tell her how much time is left, etc. It doesn't always work and she will tantrum/fit to the point I have to send her to calm down in time out, and those are the hard days. But I am learning what her triggers are and how to prevent the fit (if I can, it does not always work) and that has made a big difference in behavior for her.
Summer has been hard in the past for me because of the fits/tantrums LGA throws but I am learning to let her know what the activities for the day are (and we are thinking of getting a white board to write what will be happening each day). I'm hoping this year with the addition of the backyard and hopefully a backyard med sized pool to put on the concrete slab, that they will be able to have stuff to do, that maybe they can do some painting out there, some sidewalk chalk, etc. That we can be outside and not just sitting inside (because at 100+ temps sometimes that's all you can do, is to sit inside. My small house is not set up for crafting, etc.). I'm hoping we can do swimming lessons (we're still working on it, the girls have had a hard time mastering swimming but they enjoy the lessons) this year and BGA expressed an interest in cheer/gymnastics, so we'll see how that goes.
The girls have 12 days left of school (where HAS the year gone??) so these things are on my mind for the summer. Luckily it is a 2 mos break so it will be easier than a 3 mos break. 1 mo LGA will be in summer school so BGA and I will have mornings together. She needs some one on one time with us (Dave will be home one day on the weekday as it's his day off) and somehow will need to make it up to LGA as she was quite disappointed to know she has to go to summer school (it was recommended on her IEP and I find when she doesn't have a break in school work, she retains more and goes into the school year easier). There is some debate always about whether or not special needs kids should take the summer off, but I find with LGA, when she's had summers off and has to start up school again, she gets anxious, sometimes has been defiant and has a harder transition. So we set her up for summer school last year and it was a good decision for her. She went for one month then had a month off. It worked out well.
Chores are all part of growing up, and I do not want them to think I will do everything for them. I think I started at age 10 when I did chores, and mine were much more involved (dishes, vacuuming, dusting, ironing). I did do the feeding of pets, cleaning the bathroom I shared with my brother, watering plants, etc. So I am glad for the help, and glad to see they are completing chores. I wait for the day (as happened to me..........I hate house cleaning, and I would wait till the last minute before my mom walked in the door to complete my chores) that they don't want to do them or wait till the last minute to do them. I know it's coming.......but for now I'll just enjoy the extra help and I will be sure to praise their accomplishments. :-)