Funny how you can plead, nag, explain, beg, scream, and threaten with no good results on an issue with your children, and then hit upon the one small proverbial "needle in a haystack" that will actually motivate your children to actually follow your directive.......a good example of this is how we solved our regular morning battle of getting to school on time. I tried everything (with no success) to get the girls to get out of bed, get dressed and leave on time to ensure that they were not tardy After many miserable mornings, and finally a letter from the principal regarding their excessive tardies, I came up with the "Get up and Go bag". This was a bag full of special treats and if they got up with their alarm clock, made their bed and were dressed by 7:00 AM, they got to choose a treat from the bag. Along with their favorite candy, I even put things that I would normally buy them like new toothbrushes, lotion, chap stick, hairbrushes.....you name it, it was in there. (even new underwear!) It worked like a charm and within 24 hours our mornings magically became a piece of cake! The girls were up and at it without a word from me and at 7:00 choosing their "treat" from the "Get up and Go Bag"!
My latest challenge is laundry! When I say mounds and mounds of laundry, that is an understatement. The two older girls have track practice everyday and sometimes twice a day, which means two sets of dirty running clothes, their school uniform, two towels and wash cloths on a daily basis and even more if they go somewhere in the evening! Not to mention, that it is much easier to try something on and if you decide not to wear it, just throw it in the dirty clothes! So last night, I casually mentioned that we were going to have a little contest to see who in the family could produce the least dirty clothes and the winner gets two tickets to the movies. The contest runs from Tuesday night through Saturday morning and if they wear something dirty to school (obviously dirty) they are disqualified. That is to keep them from getting too over the top as they would wear the same shirt everyday to "win" the contest! Wow....now I guess this will only work if you have competitive children, but the response was unbelievable. They all started strategizing immediately.......they were planning how they could reuse the clothes they run in all week.....telling me how they would use the same sports bras everyday, reuse the same pajamas every night, pick one towel and hang it up every night then reuse it and laying out their clothes for the week to count how many pieces they would have to use by Saturday! Sara was waffling on whether she should shower or not that evening but after I announced the contest, she decided that she better shower in order to keep the one pair of pajamas she planned to use all week clean. Ellen is in the contest too but since she doesn't have practice everyday, she has be at twelve pieces or under to win. I too am in the contest...and let me tell you, I am now thinking about laundry in a different way! I am taking the washcloth that I used to wash my face last night and reusing it for my shower this morning....hanging up my jogging pants so they will air out for another use....it really changes the way you do things! On Saturday morning we will count the pieces of dirty clothes between the four of us and it will be interesting to the results of this little experiment! Typically it would be at least 150 if not more! I am sure to have some creative ideas of how to conserve clothing based on the ideas that were flying last night not to mention a few cases of "Athletes foot" as they plan to only use one pair of socks for the week! So let the games begin and the wash will end!