S is for…

Two years ago when I first undertook the A to Z challenge and wrote about S, I wrote about stuffies. To date, it is one of my top three favorite posts. It’s also when I created the header you now see on this blog. In it I share how each family member in our house has a special stuffie that represents them. A panda, a rabbit, a monkey, and a penguin make up this household zoo. If our house were on fire I would not leave until I had all four. Them and the external hard drive.

Last year for S I wrote about a game called Slither. It slithered out as quickly and quietly as it slithered in. Speaking of slitherin’… 

Slitherin. Griffendor. Harry Potter. The Deathly Hallows. Sirius Black is dead. Dumbledor is, too. Crash is wondering if anyone else going to die and hoping not. I didn’t spoil it for him. Little does he know, though…

I considered writing a Saturday Share and that would get me off the hook tomorrow, but that feels like cheating. I already skipped Go Ask Your Father. 

S could be for sick. Both boys are coming down with something. S could also be for sneeze, snot, and sleepy. They’ll both be in bed a bit early this evening. 

 is for the best day of the week. Or at least it’s my favorite day of the week. It’s the day I used to devote to writing 100 word ficional stories. In fact, it’s the day this post is getting published. Saturday. For most of us it means no work. Or at least no paid work. We are free to laze in bed or rise early and carpe diem. We are free to travel or stay put. We are also free to enjoy an extra glass of wine or two. 

Of course, it’s also a day when our kids are with us the entire time. If you’re lucky the weather is nice and you can kick them outside. If they’re not lucky, you’ll kick them out into the rain. However, this is East Coast Canada, it’s still cold. Like 10 C (50F) cold. And that’s at it’s warmest. I don’t think it got that warm today. 

Saturdays are for recovering from whatever you did Friday night. Or perhaps Saturdays are for what you didn’t do Friday night. Then Sunday will be your recovery day. Still an S day. No school and no work on S days!

Yeah, right. No work. Saturday is also the day to get caught up on all you couldn’t do Monday through Friday. Rather than just trying to keep up with the mess, you might even get ahead. The laudry that’s still in the laundry basket from last weekend can be put away so you can refill with with fresh clothes (to be put away next Saturday, of course). A weeks worth of crumbs (enough to feed a  of mice) and dirt (enough for a ball field) can get vacuumed. If you’re like us, you might even venture to the car wash for the Deluxe Wash. 

I was ambitious today. After the car wash I cleaned out the inside, too. I’m not sure where the pebbles and rocks came from, but there was half the Sahara back there. Then I armor-alled it. Except for the scratches, she looks fit for a king… or at least four stuffies and two sick kids. 

What do you like to do on Saturdays? I’ve got something you can do. Find me on Twitter! Stomperdad


I’m Bored

God help my kids if I ever hear those two words uttered this summer. Inevitably, they’re said on the 2nd day of summer vacation.

We have a good crew of kids in our little development now. Some are a bit older than Crash and some are bit younger than Bang. We’ve got the ages covered. This means there are plenty of others their age to play with.

But more than than just having others to play with is the amount there is to do now.

  • Trampoline
  • Soccer
  • Road hockey
  • Basketball
  • Frisbee/disk golf
  • Swing set
  • Sandbox
  • Bikes
  • Scooters
  • Rollerblades
  • Baseball

And that’s just the stuff they can play in the driveway and backyard. We have a beautiful (read huge) park to play on. It has just received an upgrade. Flex court was just laid on Sunday. The basketball court looks amazing! There’s talk of making it a multi-purpose  court by painting lines for ball hockey as well as basketball. Plus there’s a huge splash pad at the park, too.

This is by no means my summer bucket list. That post will be coming later when summer is closer than a month and half.

So help me if I hear either one of my kids says “I’m bored” at any give time, do you know what they’ll be doing? I’ve already told them this. I’ve given them their warning.

They’ll be doing chores.

  • Mowing
  • Vacuuming
  • Dusting
  • Loading/unloading the dishwasher
  • Cleaning the bathroom
  • Cleaning their room
  • Picking up their toys
  • Cleaning Timbit’s cage (the hamster)
  • Putting laundry away
  • Whatever other busy work I can come up with

I’m just putting this out there now. For us, the first day of summer vacation isn’t until June 30th. But nice weather is upon us so I’m just preparing myself and the kids.


Once in a Leap Year

How could I not write today? Today doesn’t even exist for the next three years. It will be impossible to write on February 29th until 2020. Happy Leap Year!

Does it warrant a party? I think so. Know what else deserves a party? Surviving Monday. We’re going to celebrate by getting the house back in order. There’s lots to clean and the kids are not going to be happy about it.

Which reminds me, I haven’t done a chore chart update in a very long time. Want to know how they’re doing? Has the chart helped? Nope. They still moan about having to clean. They still try to get out of it. Crash said he wants to save up for a FitBit. I was all over that like stink on poo. I even made him a chart… 100 squares to represent each dollar he’d have to earn to get said FitBit. Then he could watch his money grow. He had $10 to start with (money he hadn’t spent). So we colored in 10 squares. Then he spent $8 on a book. Then he argued with me about doing chores so I told him, “Then you can do them for free”. His response? “I guess you don’t want me to get a FitBit then.”

Huh? Apparently it’s my fault he’s spending his money and can’t save it. He’s the opposite of me when I was that age. I hoarded money. I kept a birthday check an aunt wrote me for 6 months (I claim ignorance on that one) until my mom found it and told me I need to cash it, then I could save the money.

So there’s your chore chart update. He does chores roughly twice a week. It’s like pulling teeth. I take that back. I think he’d rather have teeth pulled.


I just looked outside. I know for sure that no cleaning will get done today. The sun is shining. It’s 8 (46) degrees. They’re going to be outside playing and I will let them because being outside playing trumps inside cleaning every time.

Every time.

Cleaning will just have to wait.

It’s like that cartoon I saw once: pick two

We don’t get to have our cake and eat it too. Unless you have an actual cake.


Battle of Wills

While I was trying to force encourage Crash and Bang to help me clean up their toys this evening I had an epiphany. An enlightenment. Or at the very least an interesting thought.

I’m the one who wanted it clean.

Why am I getting angry at the kids for something I want.

They clearly don’t want a clean room as much as I do. Really, I’m nearly convinced they’d be okay with a mess like Dresden in February of ’45.

Dresden After the Bombing

Is it possible that he doesn’t even see the mess? He looks at the basement area and there are toys everywhere, but to him it’s not a mess. It’s just toys all over. That can’t be, right. Because after we clean it he says, “Wow, look at the space. That’s a lot better.”

I’m the one who wants it clean, so why do I lose my patience when they won’t clean it?

It comes down to a battle of wills. I can lead him to the mess, but I can’t make them clean it.

If Crash isn’t around, Bang will normally help DW and I clean. He’ll vacuum the floor. He’ll vacuum the doormats. He’ll put some toys away. He’ll put the cushions back on the couch. He’ll help load/unload the dishwasher. If Crash is around, he assumes his big brother’s attitude.

What a bunch of chaches.

So it’s time for some lessons in being less selfish and more selfless. Just this morning, I told him it was time to pack his backpack for school and reminded him to fill his water bottle. I kindly asked him to fill his brother’s as well while I ran upstairs to get dressed. He whined about it! “UGH, you’re always making do stuff and I have no time for anything!”

Anyway, that’s for another time.

Consideration goes a long way. If you make a mess you clean it up. If you turn the light on, turn it off. If you open the fridge, you close the fridge. If you backtalk and get saucy, you get a swift reminder to watch your tone and what you say.

So, I want them to clean it because I want it clean. I want them to respect their belongings. I want them to respect me. Thus far, he’s only like this at home.

He’s been asking to start a YouTube channel so he can show people how to build some of the Lego stuff he creates. He loves to watch others build so now he wants to do that, too. Not that I want him on YouTube at the age of 8, but I suppose there are safe ways to do it. Some of his stuff is pretty neat – like the dog he made. Plus it would be his creative outlet. Maybe we can do a bit of negotiating. If he keeps areas clean and helps, I’ll help him make his videos. He wants to do stop motion videos with his Lego people, too. Should be interesting.

Sorry for writing  more about the frustrations in cleaning. I’ll have something different for ya tomorrow.

There, that’s 517 words.

Chore Chart Update

I haven’t given an update on how Crash and Bang are doing with their chores in a couple weeks. I bet you’re just dying to know how it’s going.

I wish I could say they’ve really stepped up their game and are taking the chart seriously. I wish I could say they have been earning extra money and have saved up a fair chunk of change. I wish I could say they no longer argue about having to do chores. I wish I could say they come looking for chores to do so they can earn more money. I wish I could I say they’re putting us in the poor house.

But all of that would be a big, fat, lie. Bigger than Nixon saying “I am not a crook.”

It’s still a headache to get Crash to clean. With the drama that ensues, you would think I was asking him to kiss Jabba the Hutt. Today, all I wanted him to do was put away his laundry that I had spent most of Saturday washing. Bang put his away, no questions asked. Crash acted as if he had to pick up dung beetles. Hey lay on his floor face down. He moaned. He argued that he didn’t want to. 20 minutes later he finally got started. He damn near needed supervision. He didn’t want to hang up his clothes in his closet. He tried to just throw them in.

I don’t think so chach.

Then I asked him to make his bed. Then I asked him to pick up all his books off the floor. I thought he was going to cry. By the end of it all, his room was tidied and DW and I were pissed that we had worked harder to get him to clean than it was for him to actually do the cleaning.

All I have to say is, thank God for bedtime.

So, in total, Crash earned a whopping $1. He did four chores all week. HA! Too bad he peed on the toilet seat twice and I had to clean up one of his meals. At .25 per infraction, he had to return .75 of his $1. Yes. He earned a quarter last week. Bang got to keep his dollar. He did four chores as well. He’s taken to sitting down to pee “like mom”. Therefore, he no long pees on the seat.

I feel partly to blame (just a small, tiny, minuscule, microscopic even). I didn’t keep on them last week. I didn’t make them do chores regularly and therefore they started believing they didn’t have to do them. They were cleaning up their messes after meals. So I have to give them credit for doing at least that.

This week will be better. They’ll get back to doing chores regularly. Right after school. I’ll let you know how it goes.


courteous of memgenterator.net 

Chore Chart Update #2

We now have two weeks of chores under our belts. The chart is working magnificently. It’s easy to use. It’s easy to read. Easily printable from week to week. While Crash and Bang don’t exactly go looking at it for what chores they have to do, they do understand that if a chore gets put on the chart it has to be done. No arguments. No questions. No ifs, ands, or buts.

We stuck to the Sunday is pay day method instead of paying them at the end of the day to let them watch their quarters add up. This way they’re not so tempted to go spend it. But also, because it’s easier.

This week went much smoother than last week. While last week there was much arguing about having to do chores, there was only once this week. Last week Crash complained that it wasn’t fair that he had chores but none of his friends did. Complained that he hated cleaning. Or that he just flat out didn’t want to. This week there was only one hiccup. That came when his chore was to put his laundry away. I’ll give him credit for putting away what was in the laundry basket without fuss. But when it came time to hang up his pants and shirts he had pulled off the hangers in his closet the attitude came out. I stood there and watched him put away the first 3-4 items (there were about 10 in total) before I knew he was back on autopilot and would put away the rest without supervision. Other than that, when it was time to do chores, they got done!

So how much did they earn this week? More than last. Crash earned himself $3.25 and
Bang earned $4.25.Bang earn an extra dollar because he did extra chores. He only did extra chores because he volunteered to do them. No on asked, he just did. He vacuumed the mess that was on the mat by the door. He put all the shoes not on the shoe rack back on the rack. He helped a stranger with her groceries and helped our neighbor in her garden.

While these last two were exactly considered chores, we included them because we wanted to reward him for doing good. Naturally, not every good deed gets rewarded in such a manner, this time it was. I must also point out that Bang did his extra chores without being prompted and without knowing he’d get an extra quarter for doing them. He did them to help. He took it upon himself to do the extra bit of work.

Now, today, they’re home  from school at 10:00 because of an unexpected early dismissal. Since they’ve come home early they think it’s also a day off from chores. I think I’m about to encounter a bit of resistance. Here’s goes! (I’ll let you know later how much of a battle today was).

I uploaded an .xls (Excel spreadsheet) and PDF file in this post if you would like the chore chart for yourself. They are also down in the footer. You’ll just have to change the names. Or not. Doesn’t matter what you call them so long as they’re doing their chores.

Chore Chart Update

So last week I wrote about (there is an .xls and pdf link to the file there as well if you’d like to have it for yourself) how we were going to create a chore charts for Crash and Bang. Well we did. Now we have a week under our belt. How has it gone so far?clean

We decided on a flat rate for each job done instead a flat rate per day. Twenty-five cents per chore. Piece work. So how much did they earn last week? Crash made a grand total of $2.25. Bang earned himself $1.75. They were excited to be paid. I don’t know if it will be enough incentive though. It was like teaching math to a mule.

I explained to Crash that he would be doing chores no matter how big of a fight he put up. He could either do the chores willingly and get paid for them or he could fight and argue with us, still have to do the chores but without pay. It was his choice.

At one point this week, when I instructed him to clean his room, he tried not to. So I sat his bed and told him what to pick up and where to put it. Then he vacuumed his room.

“None of my friends have to do chores” he tried to tell me. My response was simple.
“It’s because I’m not their dad.”

“But I don’t want to clean.”
“Me, either, bud. But we have to and mom and I really need your help.”

“But I hate cleaning.”
“There are far worse things that could be happening instead of cleaning.  Would you rather clean the whole house? No? Then clean the few things I ask you to.”

piggyBang is just the opposite when his big brother isn’t around. He’ll vacuum out the couch or the door mats. He’ll help empty the dishwasher. He’ll help load it. He’ll help me with laundry. He’ll take out the garbage and recycling. When Crash isn’t around. Otherwise he adopts the same attitude.

But there is payment and they now know they’ll be paid because they got their money yesterday. Perhaps we’ll get a roll of quarters from the bank and they can be paid each day. Then perhaps they’ll be more willing and they’ll be able to see their earnings immediately. Then later we can switch back to weekly payments. Perhaps we’ll switch to a glass jar for a piggy bank so they can watch their earnings add up.

To be continued…
I’ll give you another update next Monday to let you know if this week goes any differently.

clean quote

Chores (or how to use child labor to your advantage)

We have been himming and hawing about giving Crash and Bang an allowance for doing chores. A little incentive to help around the house. Well, I finally created a chore chart. Then it was critiqued by DW and a few changes were made. I based it on a few others I found online. Though the others just didn’t fit what I was looking for. I wanted simple. I wanted it left open for change each day. There chores will change from day to day depending on what needs cleaning and how much time they have.

For example, Crash vacuumed the stairs yesterday. That’s not something that gets done every day. Once a week will suffice around here. Bang put the clean silverware away after the dishwasher was run. That’s something that only needs to be done when the dishwasher is run. In our house that’s about 3 times a week.

I wanted a chart that could be filled in day to day as needed. Most of the charts I found online had the chores filled in already. Or the days of the week weren’t laid out properly. Or it was too colorful and distracting. My chart is perfect. It shows the whole week so we can plan ahead if we want. It’s left open so we can fill in whatever our hearts desire for them to do. It has plenty of space to give them plenty of chores without being too demanding.

It also has a spot for us to deduct earnings from them. BWAHAHAHA! Right now their deductions are only 10 cents. However, there are several ways they can be deducted. Peeing on the toilet seat because they left it down. Leaving a cup or bowl laying around. Not putting their dirty breakfast or supper dishes in the dishwasher. I’m sure more will be created as we climb the learning curve.

They are now four days into doing chores. They are still growling about it. Fingers are crossed that sooner or later (praying for sooner) that it becomes routine. But if I know Crash well enough, he’ll growl about until he moves out. Bang, on the other hand, without his big brother around is eager to help.

Right now they are earning up to $3 a week. One dollar is for them to spend. One dollar is for them to save. One dollar is for them to spend on someone else – birthday, Christmas, etc.. This comes to 75 cents per day for six days. This leaves them with one day without chores. Their first pay day will be this weekend. We’ll see if it motivates them to clean more or not!

chore chart xls

This  Chore Chart is an xls spreadsheet that will open in Excel

This Chore Chart is a PDF that will open in adobe

$$ for Nothing?

We have been toying with the idea of giving the boys an allowance. However, we weren’t just going to give it to them. They would have to earn it. By working. With child labor laws what they are, I can’t send them to work at the local paper mill. So I guess they’ll be responsible for doing stuff around the house. Cleaning, otherwise known as chores.

We have  list of chores they are capable of doing; loading and unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming the stairs, putting toys away, making his bed, cleaning his room, helping with laundry, and a couple others that only arise when needed. We have a set amount we’re willing to give them each week. It will be split into thirds. One third of it will be for them to spend. One third will be for them to save (they can save two thirds if they really want). And one third will be to spend on others (birthdays, donations, and such).

However, I haven’t really hammered down what will happen if the chores aren’t completed. Will they lose a portion of their earnings or the whole week’s earning. How much will they lose if a chore isn’t done? How do I create a schedule or a list to keep track each week of which chores were done and which ones weren’t? How do I stick to it?

Ideally, I would like this helping around the house to become ingrained and automatic, not for the allowance. However, I won’t hold my breath as I’m not really expecting that. That won’t stop me from trying to work toward, though.

Interestingly, an e-mail popped up in my inbox today explaining that an allowance shouldn’t be connected to chores. That chores should be expected and an allowance should be given for going above and beyond what’s expected. Or it should just be given to teach them about money. Huh? Just given to them? Money for nothing? Yeah, I don’t think so. If I have to earn my money by going to work, so do they. I want them to learn that by doing nothing they get nothing.

What’s your take on allowances? Useful or not? 

Inadaquate Parenting

Have you ever felt like what you were doing just wasn’t enough? Or questioned your own methods? Or faced a dilemma that you weren’t sure of the best possible solution (or felt like there weren’t any at all).  I’m not crying the poor me’s. I’m not fishing for compliments. However, maybe an opinion or two might help. Continue reading