The kids headed back to school after a week of Spring Break and I reflected on the past week. Due to a few unforeseen events, boot camp did not go exactly as planned, but I think they learned a few new things that will go a long way in life.
The week began with the task of rinsing the dishes and getting them into the dishwasher. The 6-year-old girl happily helped out, without complaining, as is her nature. The 8-year-old boy protested and said we were treating him like a slave. Yes, he is quite dramatic at times. I don’t see a future on stage, but with his quick argumentative skills, perhaps a defense lawyer or an activist. After each meal, I gently reminded him to please help out. It got easier for everyone within earshot as the week progressed.
Vacuuming the rugs was by far the easiest task. They argued over who would get to vacuüm first. They did excellent work. Next time we’ll cover the art of the attachments.
Folding clothes and putting them away was a chance for the 6-year-old to show off her attention to details as well as her sense of neatness and order. She has willingly helped with this task in the past, so it is fair to say that she had an advantage over her brother. It was extremely difficult for him to attempt this chore, but mostly in the sense of mind over matter. I know I would have lacked the patience had this been a school day. Once again he began to complain before even attempting to fold one single item. He did not even want to learn step by step. Well, boot camp is not about letting them off easy. It is about working to accomplish the task, no matter how long it takes. Although I did not set the timer, the boy took a looooooooong time just to try to fold a pair of pants. Protests, refusals and finally tears. I offered rest time, calm down time, deep breath time, all the while encouraging him and reminding him I was here to help, even with those tricky European shirt folding techniques (um, I’m not explaining.) Eventually we got through most of his clothes. Eventually it did get easier for him the more he practiced. Eventually he realized that it was not that hard and that I was not such a mean mama.
We did not get the opportunity to work on our sewing skills or food prep skills. I’m not too worried, as my son said he wanted deviled eggs the other day and did not balk when I suggested he help me make them later in the week. I think that I can try to incorporate these activities on alternating weekends, if I plan ahead. We did work on paper mache for a class project, which involved mixing and measuring ingredients.
As my cousin said over the weekend about his teenage son: “I don’t think he will ever do hard labor in his professional life, but I expect him to learn how to do it at home.” And that is just it. These skills will come in handy and we have to start at home, one task at a time.
This past week made me realize how capable my children are of achieving tasks, if they have the right amount of time, support and patience. I hope they can continue with the new skills they learned and pick up some new ones in the near future before things go topsy-turvy for them during Summer Boot Camp.