Monday, November 2, 2009

I wanna be a nagger in recovery

I don't normally post twice in one day, let alone twice in an hour. But my head is spinning, and I could use some advice if anyone has been here and done this.

Here's the deal. Zach is a slow mover and easily distracted. He generally needs to be told to do something three times before he does it - and if it's a multi-step process, I have to keep asking him what he should be doing. Put on his shoes, head up for bed, get his backpack, etc. Far too many times a day I repeat myself and nag. More times than I care to admit, this pattern annoys me into a serious state of crabbiness and overreaction.

I feel guilty about this whole thing - wondering if I just don't have enough patience, am expecting too much out of a six year old, or am not giving him enough time to respond. But really, should I have to wait three or four minutes before he makes a move towards his shoes when we're getting ready to leave? And should it take more than six years for him to figure out where that shoe closet is when he takes his shoes off and throws them on the floor?

My husband suggested setting the timer. He gets a good response out of Zach when he uses the timer, but I'm usually nowhere near the timer when I need something done. And should I have to use a timer? (Can you hear my whiney voice from where you're at when I ask that question?) I'm feeling so defeated.

We started making "I mind the first time" charts when he was about two. He always responded well when we had the charts going, but when there was no sticker to work for, responding the first time lost its appeal. And it's been four years. Shouldn't the charts have worked by now?

So... These days I feel like all I do is nag him and stand on top of him to get things done. Honestly, I feel like I've failed him. Like all of my nagging and all of my "help" (laying out clothes, putting away all of his laundry, picking up his toys, sending him off to play while I do all the cleaning, etc.) has done us all a disservice.

Luke is a serious self-starter who wants to do everything himself and is ultra focused. There is no telling Luke anything twice! And that actually makes it harder for Zach. I get frustrated with all the nagging I do and now things like, "He's three and does all of this. Why don't you?" come flying out of my mouth. Yes... I have said that to my precious child.

I'm nagging, and I'm frustrated. I need a better way to deal with this. Got any ideas?


Jenny said...

This is too funny, because I had a post a while ago about Ryan being to needy and us giving him too much attention and as I was typing it I knew in the back of my mind that it was normal but I still felt a need to "fix" things. Isn't that what moms do, "fix" things when we think something is wrong.
I am still looking for a good book about raising boys, so if you have a suggestion, I am all ears.

I will tell you that what you are experiencing is normal. What we do with Ryan is mess with his bedtime as a reward or punishment. He has no concept of time, so this will only work for a little while longer, but when he is on the ball and doing what we ask when we ask, we add time onto his bedtime (he loves nothing more than to get to stay up later than Brett) and when we have to ask more than once, we take time off his bedtime, meaning he has to go to bed earlier. He HATES that. I have to admit, that because he can't tell time he is in bed at about the same time every night, give or take 10 minutes. It works like a charm. No matter what, it will eventually get better and he will realize that you mean business. He probably isn't like this at school which shows you that he is capable, just not always willing. I have never met your boys, but from what I can tell you are doing a wonderful job. Hang in there.

Joleene said...

I think each child is different. Jake is the same as drives me crazy. Having said that, I understand that he is doing what I asked, just not in the same timeframe that I had in mind or in the same way that I envisioned it. I do use a timer with him, and it does seem to work. Like you, I rarely have the timer handy, so I say things like. "I only let little boys sleep on the top bunk if they flush the potty and wash their hands" (an issue for us) He seems to respond to this, still slower than I'd like though. I think it is ok to nag sometimes, we can't be patient forever. But it is nice to push a reset button every now and again. Being a mom is a very difficult job, because we never get to leave our stress at the office. Hang in there, I know you are a great does Zach or he wouldn't push your boundaries : )