Monday, May 6, 2013

Lola Rules and Chores at Eleven Years Old

I usually make dinner. Sometimes Mr. Curry does, but usually it's me. We've role reversed- for a few years there, he was the cook. Lola's in charge of cleaning up afterward. This includes sweeping the kitchen, wiping down the dinner table, the counters and the stove top, rinsing off the dishes and putting them in the right side of the sink and putting away any leftovers. Please Lola, don't wipe the crumbs on the floor!

We don't have desserts until Friday, with occasional exceptions. Friday night we get cheap takeout and usually have dessert, too. I always have my kids look and see how much sugar is in products. If we buy yogurt, Lola sees it has 11 grams of sugar in it. That's half of what you need in one day, in one yogurt, I point out. I explain to my kids that bodies are just fancy engines, and if you put a bunch of mud in your engine every day, eventually it's going to break.

Lola's teacher isn't big on homework, but she does have a little every day, plus I have her study basic math facts for 20 minutes daily. After forgetting this often, I had her make a sign to reminder herself. Same for cleaning up after dinner. I'm big on signs as reminders, we ( including the adults ) are big forgetters, so writing things down is imperative.

She also has to do self care. Since Lola has generalized anxiety, when it rears its head we make sure she stays on top of it so it doesn't get too bad. So far this works. Her self care includes exercise ( Wii Dance or a run ), quiet, uninterrupted time to do whatever she wants, low sugar and dairy, comfort reads and shows, meditation and breathing exercises and getting outside. At bedtime, she has cuddles and then thinks of three happy things to look forward to as she falls asleep. These are all done daily until the anxiety is quelled.

Once every weekend, usually Sunday, she participates in cleaning the general house. Usually she does something like wash windows, pick up her room, empty bathroom trashes and brush the dogs.

Lola regularly helps with Ever but I've been careful not too ask too much. A good half of what she does for Ever is self initiated. They are as close as I ever dreamed. Maybe three days out of the week I ask Lola to watch Ever for a half hour or hour after the daycare kiddos are gone, always so I can write. They usually go on the porch and play, or upstairs and play dolls. Lola bathes with Ever a few times a week too. 

Lola has Girl Scouts once every other week. Her guitar ended when she broke her arm, she just didn't want to go back, and since I had made her finish out the lessons with protest for months, I let it go. She's doing dance soon.

She has an Ipad from school ( they all have to use one for school ) and the iPod she bought; after fiddling with the rules for the first month, I landed on keeping her at one half hour of use a day, with Friday being the day she can use electronics as much as she wants. She has to be in bed reading at 8:30 every night, and goes to bed at 9pm. In my dream world she goes to bed at 9 every night. In reality, it's more like 9:30.

I start my kids out playing outside from littles, and so at Lola's age I don't have to kick her outside to play- it's just part of our life: of course you play outside every day! If she started hermiting, I would kick her out though. Fresh air, grass, seeing the leaves blowing in the wind, the sun, the cold air, goosebumps, aloneness while throwing rocks, playing with friends in the bushes, watching ropy  polys...all of this is important to being alive.

Her newest project/idea is awesome. She wants to do a dance a thon for Rady Children's Hospital. Her Girl Scout troop recently went and donated used books that all the girls pitched in, and Lola was really moved by the parents living there because their kids are so sick. She is thinking people could pledge $10 an hour for every hour their person keeps dancing.

Basically, she's totally major.

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