Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Kaitlin has the job of loading the dishwasher. This is not going well, but because of the fact that she is LESS than ONE month from being 12 years old I find it imperative to her future well being that she gets this!

WHY... let me explain.

Life skills are a necessity.

I can teach her math, geometry, history, Latin, spelling....but if she does not learn certain life skills these "school" subjects will do her zero good.

A book I read was talking about a nanny who was very strict, the boy she was in charge of had PERFECT manners, he washed his hands before eating, he stood and asked to be excused from the table, he said yes, mam and no mam...perfect manners. A new nanny came on the job and saw that something was very wrong... he had perfect manners but no life skills. He was deathly afraid of bees and horses, of stairwells and tree climbing. The new nanny told the father one day.... I understand the old nanny taught him to be a perfect wind up doll but if he is afraid of horses how will he ever leave home on his own. (this was in the day and age of buggies). The new nanny said I want him to be polite but I also need him to be able to function in the everyday world that he lives in... a world of horses, stair wells and bees.

I digress... long explanation of a one part of book I read to say what I want to say. If Kaitlin is sweet that is great. If Kaitlin can know the area of a triangle, kudos to her. BUT if Kaitlin can not judge when a dishwasher soap container is almost empty and TELL me.... how can she work at a veterinary office and judge if the cat food jug is almost empty - or how can she live at home with a new baby and judge if the formula can is almost empty....

THESE are life skill.

Sounds simple.. just show her how to see if it is empty and tell her to let me know it is half full so I can buy more....this is not working well for me.

So today she ran out of dishwasher soap. I reminded her that we were at Target on Saturday, I asked her IN THE DISHWASHER SOAP AISLE.. do we need more dishwasher soap and she said it was half full. I did not buy it as it was not my full shopping day I was just picking something up. Today 4 days later ( and the dishwasher has only been ran 4 times and it is a BIG bottle) is empty. She could NOT have judged properly.

so I said after illustrating why this skill was necessary (i.e. vet. or baby or job at restaurant to pay bills) I told her the consequence of running out of dishwasher soap is YOU ARE GOING TO HAND WASH THE DISHES.

She was very angry.

Well I am very frustrated. I get that I am the enemy, who is just trying to make her life miserable but really...

her rebuttal to me asking why she did not know it was so close to empty...

"I don't carry the bottle around in my purse."

I asked her if she runs out of formula and her baby dies from starvation will her response to the police questioning be... "I don't carry the formula around in my purse!

I understand that my two situations are extremes from one another.. and no I don't think she would let a baby starve BUT still a life skill that must be learned.

She has judgement problems and I am not quite sure how to go about working on those things. I mean it is not the same disability as a blind person who you teach Braille or a deaf person who learns sign language (and NO I am in NO inferring that those disabilities are in any way the same) I just don't know what I do to fight it. How to I com bate poor judgement?

We were at the park one day and Kaitlin was playing with a little boy less than 2 years old. She was being so sweet and help full, helping him slide, holding his hand.. she played with him for a long time and the mother got to just sit on a bench and visit with the other moms...

Well after a while of playing Kaitlin started walking him towards a large pond, water area. The mom asked, "will she watch him?" My response was "To be honest I would still keep a close eye on him, I am unsure- she tends to get distracted."

NOT even two minutes later a guy with a bunch of dogs was a ways off and obviously letting other kids pet the dogs. Kate let go of the toddlers hand --- who was headed toward the water--- and went off to pet the dogs. She didn't give the toddler a backwards glance. The mom jumped up and ran over to him before he got to the water.

NO judgment. This was ONE YEAR AGO.

HOW do I combat this, I mean obviously she is NOT the 12 year who can babysit a kid--- I on the other hand at a younger age than 12 babysit two children for an entire summer. So I just cannot relate to having THIS sort of judgement problem.

Life skills are a necessity--- yes it is ONE reason why we home school so that I can work with her, but HOW. AND no it is not every time or ZERO judgement but when do I decide that I can trust her judgement when I CANT....


Shannon said...

My oldest is about to turn 10 and I feel the same way about her. That "head in the clouds" personality that drives me nuts. My husband is to blame! ;) Genetics! He is the same way. I think the only thing you can really do is let her continue to suffer the consequences. Handwashing the dishes sounds like the way to go... enough of that and should eventually learn to pay attention. As far as babysitting.... or anything crucial it sounds like that might be best avoided for now. ;) I really think you are on the right track.

Everyone thinks that my oldest must be a great help and she can be in very closely monitored situations. But an example of how she just does not think is on our vacation this summer we stopped at a gas station. Hubby was pumping gas, I told her to watch the little ones in the bus while I went in to pay, she opened the door and let the 3 year old out.... YES! Near a street! Fortunately, I was there as it was happening and he did not go to the street and there was little traffic at that time. BUT that is the kind of mistake that only gets made once and it can be a huge tragedy. I have to be very careful of the responsibilities I give her and my expectations and it drives me nuts. With three younger than her she is improving with age, but her reasoning a focus are way off..... sigh... I feel your pain. And my hubby is just like her. Ask him if he needs shaving cream. Answer = No. Two days later. Hubby = I am out of shaving cream. Me = SCREAM! And guess what? He could care less, BECAUSE HE SIMPLY DOESN'T GET IT. TOTALLY GOT THEIR HEADS IN THE CLOUDS. Awwww, it must be nice to have that luxury and know that someone is going to do your thinking for you. ;) I better go before I rant a whole books worth.

Jennifer said...

My best recommendation is "Parenting with Love and Logic". I used the "Teaching with Love and Logic" in the classroom and it was amazing. But the parenting book is different, because as parents, it is a different dynamic. The entire thrust of the book is how to teach responsibility. I had become concerned that my kids were doing what was right because they didn't want to suffer the consequences of disobedience, NOT because they had really internalized the message of WHY it was the right thing to do. (despite the fact that we talk about that all the time). It has worked beautifully for us. The kids are much more thoughtful and the stress is off me!

Brenda said...

OK--You know I understand. You KNOW I understand.

First of all, when you rant, you forget to hit spell check. Just so you know, my favorite sentence is "These are life skill." :)

Running out of formula is no big deal. I run to the store all the time. When it inconviences her enough, she'll pay attention. So I guess it will either come in time (young adult?) or she'll get tired of hand washing dishes. :)

That baby--was she put in charge? Was she asked to watch the toddler or was she just playing with him? She was still young enough that she assummed adults were supervising and she was just being sweet and having fun with him. I can see her view there at the age of 10. And yes, I was babysitting at 10. WHAT were those people thinking??????

But I know your pain. I am not trying to take up for her--just that I understand how it happened. The disorganized brain--I know it well.

aneisa said...

I think you are very wise making her follow through with her choices. You are making her think further than the "now" and I hope that I am as clever with Ginger when she reaches that age!

Mommy of Two said...

I haven't been around Katie consistantly, obviously, enough to notice. At some point in my studies I might learn ways to help though :)