Manual Labor


Noah and Nora got in trouble today.  I have exhausted my punishment toolbag and am taking some good advice and putting them to work with the mindset that they must be bored and I need to give them something to do.

This past weekend we (all 3 of us, while I held Lorelei) made 4 piles of sticks from the broken branches throughout our front yard. They have been sitting there waiting patiently to be brought down the driveway to the burn pile.

The picture: The first pile of sticks was on the leftside of the picture near the brown stump and the burn pile is all the way to the right where that tiny drum is. This is only halfway up the driveway and the other three piles are evenly spaced all the way to the top. I promise it looks closer than it actually is in person!

That was their job. To bring sticks to the burn pile. Pretty simple, right? Leave it to Noah to make it more work and even more complicated. The first 5 minutes went pretty smoothly. Then, Noah didn’t want to do it anymore and wanted a drink. He JUST had one! OMG! The tantrum he gave was Oscar worthy! I said no, keep working, and he went in the house anyway. Grr. So, I told Nora to go sit on the porch and had Noah work alone for his defiance. He had to do two piles by himself. He complained the entire time. He tried compromising, pleading, crying, everything and then he decided he had a better way of getting the sticks to the burn pile.

His idea instead of picking up a handful and dragging them to the pile was to throw them down the driveway, one at a time, and then pick them up again and bring them to the burn pile. This is where I am learning to let go. I have the best way of doing things in my mind. Any other way is simply wrong, but I am learning that as long as the end goal is met (completely, safely and in a timely manner), it doesn’t matter how it is done.

I want to make a point of mentioning that I was out there the entire time, sitting or standing (with Lorelei for part of the time).

Finally the first pile was complete. And by finally I mean FINALLY, it took an hour. It should have taken 10 minutes! While I was inside putting Lorelei down for her nap and switching the clothes to the dryer, Noah came and sat on the porch with Nora. He did NOT need a break. He had been sitting and crying for half the time already. I told him to get back to work and he refused. Sigh. I counted to three telling him he would pick of the third pile by himself if he didn’t get a move on. His reply was, “so, it’s a small pile”, and so he did. I walked back by the door from the laundry room and he still hadn’t moved, so I counted again for the fourth pile and he got back to work.

For the second pile he decided with a lot of the same whining, crying, complaining, that he would throw the sticks and when he got to the small sticks at the bottom of the pile his bright idea was to sweep them down the driveway. Sigh. Whatever. The deal was that he had to pick up the big sticks before he could sweep, which he did. This idea took f o r e v e r… He also wanted to take the pile UP the driveway to a different pile of sticks because he believed that it would be easier and then he could pick up THAT pile another day. WHAT?! Seriously? I told him that he could take them up there, but once he set them down he needed to immediately pick them back up and bring them BACK DOWN the driveway to the burn pile. Thankfully he decided against trekking up the hill. I went inside to check on Lorelei and then Noah decided to grab the snow shovel to help pick up the third pile. Wow. At that time I had Nora working on the last pile and had found three ticks on myself and two on Noah. By that point I was pleading with Noah to just get done, so we could all go inside! I hate ticks!! Jason was due home any moment and Lorelei was awake and wanting to play.This whole process took two hours. LHM

What did we learn today? We need to do something like this more often. (No, really!) I think the lesson for the kids was one in perseverance and learning that testing mommy only leads to consequences. Surprisingly, we did a little bit of bonding as well. We found ticks on each other (I swear we are like monkeys now, without the eating part). Noah found an inchworm (so cool). We got it all done. Although I did not help physically, I was certainly there emotionally and the driveway is clear. Yay!