He talked a lot about irresponsibility, and how it doesn't matter who is irresponsible, someone has to clean up the chaos left behind by irresponsibility. If you are a parent, then you are nodding your head and going "uh-huh". So when Andy Stanley would walk into one his kids rooms and see something crumpled up in a heap on the floor, like a towel, he would call his child into the room and say to him or her "I would like for you to ask me to clean up your towel. I would like for you to say 'Dad, would you please clean up my towel off the floor because I am too lazy to do it myself'." In the video, he never really said what would happen in his house, but a couple of us in the room thought that was a pretty good idea. Maybe a more pleasant way to communicate than a demand. I was pretty sure I knew how my daughter would react, but I was so pumped to try this new parenting technique that I went against my gut feeling, which was possibly a mistake but like I always say, you never know til you try. (This does not apply to everything and is actually not even great advice.)
I got into the car right after class on Sunday and was presented with the perfect opportunity to try out my new approach. My daughter loves what we like to call smoothies. She has one almost every day, and sometimes she has to drink on-the-go, so the container gets left in the car, which was the case Sunday morning. And even better, it had been sitting there all. night. long. (Mmmmmm, so fun to clean out, so fun that maybe she would learn and not do it again. Maybe.) I imagined all the different scenarios all the way home--how clever I would be, how everyone would look at me with admiration and perhaps a little fear, how my husband would go to work on Monday and talk about what an awesome parent I am, how GMA would call with a request for a permanent spot on their show...
"Anna," I announced as soon as I walked in the door. "Your smoothie container is still in my car. It has been in there since Saturday."
"Why can't you bring it in?", she wanted to know. "You were just out there." (We are currently working on "Respect vs. Disrespect". It's a long row to hoe, y'all.)
A-HA! She walked right into my awesome parenting trap!
"Anna, I would like for you to ask me to go get your smoothie container out of the car. I would like for you to say to me 'Mom, I would like for you to go get my smoothie container for me, because I don't want to walk out there and do it myself."
See, this sort of intelligent parenting is supposed to point two things out to the other person:
1) I am the boss
2) You need to recognize your own mess and then clean it up
She looked at me kind of funny, with her brow furrowed and her stank face on and her head cocked to one side, as if she were trying to figure out what the trick was. What she did not do was recognize her own mess and then sigh and go get the container.
"Um, okay," she said. And then she repeated exactly what I told her to.
"Mom, would you go get my smoothie container out of the car for me? Because I don't want to go out there and do it myself."
FAIL. I totally should have seen that coming.
I stared at her retreating back like a fish, mouth open. Now, how did this go so wrong?
So I raised myself up to my full 5'6", threw my shoulders back and said "GO GET YOUR SMOOTHIE CONTAINER OUT OF THE CAR. RINSE IT OUT. PUT IT IN THE DISHWASHER. THEN GO CLEAN YOUR ROOM."
I didn't shout. I was just firm.
Have you ever seen the Twelve YO Shoulder Slump? It looks like they are simultaneously melting into the ground and stomping their feet while their eyes roll. Give her a beat and it could be a dance, like the whip and the nae-nae.
But she, with great sighs and laments, did exactly as I asked.
Sometimes being direct just works better. (But I'm still thinking about making her watch the video. Talk about great sighs of discontent and vexation.)
Our smoothie recipe: (adapted from Unleash Your Thin)
Reese Cup Smoothie
1 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder (make it dark by adding more)
1 tablespoon soaked chia seeds
1 tablespoon all-natural peanut butter (or almond butter)*
2-3 heaping tablespoons plain Greek yogurt
1 scoop protein powder
stevia to taste
Soak the chia seeds in 2 tablespoons of water for a few minutes. Combine all ingredients in blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!
*peanuts or almonds, y'all, no added sugar or oils