My eldest came home from Scouts with a letter about yet another camp. He says he would like to do some jobs to earn the money to pay for it.
I’m really pleased with him about this – that he realises money doesn’t grow on trees and you can’t automatically have everything you want. He knows we work for our money, so I’m glad that he’s volunteering to work for his too.
But I do have an issue… While I would love him to empty the bins and do the hoovering (though I suspect it would all need doing again afterwards), there are many things he does wrong every single day which need sorting out first. There’s no way I’m going to pay him to empty the dishwasher if he can’t do some very basic things an 11 year old boy (or in many cases a 4 year old boy) should be able to do.
He’s not a bad kid – teachers and other kids’ parents adore him – so I don’t understand why he can’t just get to grips with this stuff. We tell him about these thing every day, but he still does them wrong every day.
He drops his clothes all over the floor – and not just in his bedroom. Scouts day (or rugby day) means two lots of clothes go on the floor. When I ask him to put them away, he simply shoves them in the wash – whether they are dirty or not.
He does homework for up to 10 whole minutes a day. In the lounge. On the floor. Or maybe the armchair. Sometimes on the floor AND the armchair. And then he leaves it there until he gets shouted at. Sometimes someone will inadvertently put it in the wrong place or even mess it up and he will get upset. WELL PUT IT AWAY PROPERLY THEN! We bought a desk for the dining room a year ago, specifically so the kids would have somewhere they could do their homework. But there’s no telly in there. He might be forced to actually concentrate on it.
He leaves wrappers in his pockets. I swear there are more wrappers in his pockets than he actually eats – does he provide some sort of disposal service for his friends at school? They all end up floating around in the washing machine, that’s all I know.
He forgets to do his mouthwash. His teeth are not the best. In fact, they’re dreadful. I don’t know why they’re dreadful, but all I know is he needs to work damn hard to give them any chance of surviving into adulthood. But he doesn’t.
Ditto all personal hygiene – forgets deodarant and hairbrushing and lets his lips get into a sore, ugly mess because he can’t be bothered. My fear here is that he will get picked on at school.
He never does his shoelaces up. I’m pretty sure he can’t actually do shoelaces, but he swears he can. So he walks around with his shoes flopping off his feet and the laces trailing. Again, I worry he will be bullied for it. If I thought it would only be a one-off (rather than something that went on for five years and is never forgotten by the bullies) – I actually wouldn’t mind this. The bullies might get him to do something I’ve failed to get him to do in the last four or five years.
He winds his brother and sister up deliberately. He knows what he’s doing, he knows they will get upset, he knows we will get cross, but he still does it.
He makes a mess with his breakfast and doesn’t clear up.
Frankly, if he could sort all that out once and for all, I would gladly pay for his Scout camp and he wouldn’t ever need to go near the hoover. It would be worth its weight in gold to me. A tidier house and a happy family for the cost of one weekend away? That’s a bargain.