Immovable Eli

Eli's determination to avoid his responsibilities is remarkable!

I instituted the Expectation Chart last week and it worked fabulously for Lila. She knows what is expected of her and she learned very quickly that I was not kidding about the boundaries. She takes care of her responsibilities without a single complaint now.

Eli, on the other hand... I have been shocked (and slightly bewildered) by his calm refusal to conform. I don't ask much of these guys, as far as chores are concerned. Just enough to give them the idea that being part of a family comes with responsibilities. But Eli would rather miss out on videos and game time than do his chores. I'm glad that he's not so hooked on screen time that he just has to have it, but I really thought I had more leverage!

On Friday, we upped the ante. I bought a locking door knob for the playroom and told Eli that all those toys are also a privilege that has to be earned. Doug installed the new door knob on Saturday and I've noticed two interesting things.

1. Eli still doesn't care. His favorite toys are locked in that room and he just calmly declines the invitation to earn access to them. What the what?!?

2. The door to the play room has been locked for most of the past three days and no one has asked us to unlock it. Even after Lila has finished her responsibilities and earned her privileges, she hasn't asked for access to the play room.

This is proving something that I have believed for a long time: They would be just as content -- if not MORE content -- without all those blasted toys! For three days, they have relied on their imaginations and the few things of interest that are still out and about. And for three days, no one has complained of being bored!

It definitely helps that the weather has been so gorgeous here lately. But even when the kids are inside, they are content.

Now, if I had the nerve to suggest that we get rid of any of those locked-away toys... there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth! Clothes would be torn! Dust would be put on heads!

But I digress.

Back to the topic of Eli. He did give me a small grain of hope this afternoon. All afternoon, the only thing he'd agreed to do was tidy up the living room a bit (i pointed out a whopping five items that i wanted him to put away). Lila came home from school, promptly did her job (vacuum under the dining room table), and asked to watch afternoon video.

When asked if he was going to finish up his jobs so that he could watch with her, Eli's first response was a No. However, when I asked him to go upstairs to his bedroom (since the playroom was also off-limits), I sensed some hesitation. I sweetened the deal slightly by reminding him that he could watch the episode of Rescue Bots that he'd been wanting to see... and he decided to go for it!

We did half a reading lesson (~15 mins) and he vacuumed under the kitchen table. Lila was rather pissed that he got to choose the video, since she usually gets to choose in the afternoon, but I was just excited that he finally decided to participate!

He may go right back on strike tomorrow, but at least he has proven to me and to himself that he can do what is expected of him and there are benefits to doing so!

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