I'm trying to keep my business, my triplets, and my waistline under control. I excel at one of those, fail at another one of those, and one is a work in progress. Which is which is day dependant.

Friday, March 5, 2010

I Shall Not Pee In The Woods

As I've blogged about before, DS has had a whole bunch of issues at school over the last few months. Many hours and hundreds of dollars later, it turns out that he's smarter than all of us. After all, he's had a gaggle of adults running around him trying to make him happy - while he just sits back and does whatever the hell he wants anyway. So you tell me which one of us is the clever one, right?

Needless to say things seem to be on the improve (and thank god for that, I was about this close --><-- to a nervous breakdown). However, DS doesn't seem to be getting that he is in fact as much a part of the solution as the rest of us are. Basically, if he doesn't come up with the behavioural goods, there is no point in all of us trying to help him. For several weeks now I've been trying to figure out how to get him on board with all of this and failing miserably.

Most child psychs tell you that in order to wield power over kids, use an item of value. An item of value to the kid, that is - so take away their Nintendo, don't let them have play dates, reduce their TV time, etc. Basically figure out what's precious to your kid and then take it away. The theory is that the kid will eventually fall in line because they want their item of value back. This theory fails miserably in my house. We don't own expensive or noisy toys, we already limit their TV time, we don't have a lot of play dates, and all their extra-curricular activities are physical and therefore necessary and not optional (IMHO anyway).

And then there was the camping.

About a week ago, DH sent me an email from the Cub Scouts which said that they are having a Mums and Cubs camping weekend at the end of this month.

And we all know how much I love camping.

About as much as I love Helicopter Mom, Other People's Kids, and the birthday cakes DH gets me. Actually I love camping even LESS than that, to the power of a gazillion.

I HATE dirt, uncomfortable beds, spiders, toilets which need gravity to flush, poor quality toilet paper, building a fire with anything other than a functioning 6 burner stove, eating stuff overcooked over wood, singing songs, mosquitoes, kids running around in packs, bus rides, duffle bags, sleeping bags, housing which requires construction and sticks and stuff, flies, creeks, mud, hiking shoes which give you blisters, and absolutely everything else which has anything at all to do with camping.

But I'm a Mum. And in the Mum guidebook, Commandment Number One is YOU SHALL SUFFER.

Like a bolt out of the blue I suddenly realised that there are in fact two things that DS values. Firstly, one on one time with his dear old Mum. As a triplet, one on one parent time is decidedly limited. Secondly, he absolutely adores travelling and camping and going away doing cool stuff, and he KNOWS how much I hate that stuff with an extreme passion.

And so the "Mum and DS Camp" chart was born. Between when we started and the dreaded camp, there are 14 school days. DS has to behave LIKE A FREAKIN' ANGEL for all of those 14 days, and the reward is that I will suffer 2 nights away in the woods. With other people's kids. Which will likely have more than one Helicopter Mom (but probably no birthday cake.) Now because I am a reasonable sort of person, I also gave him two 'get out of jail free' cards... because in his world, perfect behaviour for 14 days is close to impossible. He is, after all, human. Or at least I think so.

We're now onto Day 5 of the Race to Torture Mum, and so far he's been as good as gold. Literally skips out of school, grins broadly and says, "Another GREAT day, Mum!"

Fucking kid. NOW he decides to behave?

I hate it when a plan comes together.


Claire - Matching Pegs said...

Excellent Psych Em! I am indeed impressed with your dedication to the cause.

I used to love camping, but now, not so much.

We too have problems coming up with things to confiscate/withhold/ban.

Hang in there!

ramona said...

That stinker! Can't wait to read the follow-up post after the fact! ;)

M.B. said...


I feel your pain. When you write about your son it is like I am writing about mine. Always a challenge to figure out what the "carrot" will be.

My son is in his second year of scouts and I like the overnight camping probably just as much as you do. I don't like the whole getting up and not having a shower and running what ten steps from me.

But like you say, we must obey the first commandment.

You are a great Mum. :)

Christine said...

"But I'm a Mum. And in the Mum guidebook, Commandment Number One is YOU SHALL SUFFER."

That made me spit tea on my keyboard. SO TRUE!

Your son definitely sounds like a clever one! Do you think you could get him interested in a spa weekend for the next time you need an incentive?