I thought after my last post I would add a more positive one here :-) This also has to do with Jedidiah. We've had many concerns about Jedidiah over his short 6 years of life. They have ranged from the serious (his failure to thrive) to the not so serious (this being only in comparison to the serious). Jedidiah has made many, many HUGE cognitive improvements over the past 9 months. It is really amazing to witness. The little things that most would take for granted, we have celebrated. There has been a new improvement the past two weeks. Helping with chores. Yes, chores. There needs to be a bit of background to see why this is amazing.
I'm not sure where to start, so bear with me as I sort this out on the screen. When Jed was a toddler and being tube fed, he was very much sedentary. Due to his extreme sensitivity his feedings took up to 1.5 hours. That meant he had to stay in one place for that whole time...as a toddler!!! Now, this worked well for him, only because he had such a lack of energy. Then, after his feeding, we couldn't let him exert himself too much, or work him into a cry, or else that whole 1.5 hours of feed would be on the floor (aka....throw up). This brought a bit of a moral/spiritual/parenting/whatever concern. It was a hard line to walk. As he got older we wanted him to have responsibilities (get dressed, help pick up toys, etc). But we had the wee bit of a problem of not being willing to make him cry (at some point any toddler decides they don't want to pick up their toys and will cry about it). Plus we had the hindrance of him not being able to hang with me while I did my chores, like all my other littles do, since he was so confined to a chair. So this led to a 5/6 year old boy who really hadn't "worked" a day in his life.
What is a mama to do? Pray. Yes, pray. I mean it's not his fault that he wasn't used to doing chores, and I didn't want the experience of bringing him 'around' to be hard on him, or I. As it was my girls were quite upset that they were doing all the picking up after their brothers, which proved to be lessons for them in their on lives. But it was indeed time for me to teach Jedidiah, and Jonah for that matter, that they had a responsibility to help with taking care of our house. Gone are my concerns of having Jed lose the contents of his stomach from crying. So I jumped in. I can't say I have been completely consistent, or had a well layed plan. I guess I just started to expect that he needed to be helping out.
It took a while to get him to clean up things. I started small. Very small (much to my girls' disliking!). I started to require that he help clean his room. Now we did have something going for us, in that Jed is very much into grouping like items. I laid out the boxes and told him what each box was for (one for toy animals, one for cars/trucks, one for tools, etc). As long as I work with him he has been very willing to help. As a matter of fact he has now started, on his own, to clean up other rooms in the house, without being told. This is amazing. It can also be crazy as he asks me for each. and. every. single. item. where they go. Ha! And truth be told there have been days that I am about to go crazy because of it. But I do stop and remember to be thankful that he is catching on. Normally by 6 my girls have been able to do things on their own, when given a specific task, like pick up all the books. We started last year or more giving each girl an assigned room to clean, and Saoirse was about 6 or 7 when we started that and she was able to do that (although we need to keep on top of her as she can easily get distracted). So in that regards Jed is a bit behind, he pretty much is in the stage my preschoolers would be. But I am fine by that.
The important thing is that my concern that he was going to be a lazy bump on a log will not be warranted. But I am aware that I will need to be a bit more intentional with him. I've started to tell him that he is now a big boy and that he gets to do school stuff like his sisters this coming school year (which we are starting at the end of September). I think short lessons are going to be key. So far he has been learning his numbers just in the course of normal reading and playing, so I am not overly concerned. He loves reading books and is always asking about what this or that 'says'. I've been telling him that pretty soon he will be able to tell what it says all by himself. He doesn't seem too excited by that, but I'm hoping that by talking about it over the next few weeks will prepare him for this new season in his life. I'm pretty excited to see how it all pans out.