Sometimes I have to wonder if what I teach my boys really sinks in. Mostly, I just get a bunch of blank stares in answer to my questions or requests. For example, I have been working with Sam on how to put his toys away since he became mobile with little luck. I would stare in envy when I saw other kids his age helping out their mothers with minor chores. I was even jealous that the children even had the desire to help in the first place. How could I communicate to Sam what I really wanted him to do?
As for cleaning up his toys, it took a lot of patience. I started out telling him what I wanted him to do, followed by showing him what I wanted him to do. He didn't get that. Next I stood behind him and held his hands and showed him with his body what I wanted him to do. We picked up the toys together, me holding his hands and directing his actions. But he thought this was a game, and only would pick up his toys if I was holding his hands... this got old really fast.
After about 2 years of working on it, about 6 months ago I just felt like giving up. You know, throwing in the towel and just letting it go. I was tired. It was just so much quicker and easier to do the job myself. Then I thought, what would I be teaching him? What about never giving up? Teaching him good work ethic and helping out around the house and being clean?
So I kept going... about two weeks later, my hard work FINALLY paid off! It clicked in that brain of his, and he started to clean up when I showed him what I wanted done. I was so thrilled I did a little dance and we started singing a clean up song, it was a very happy day and my only regret was that Ben wasn't here to see it.
Now, every night before bed, we sing the clean up song and Sam helps me put his toys in his room (we are still working on putting them in the toy box, but if they make it into his room, I am a happy camper). However, Nephi doesn't like to help. He prefers to be the cheerleader sitting on the couch.
Tonight, I thought, no more. Nephi is old enough to get this, I know he can do it. So I plopped him off the couch and coached him on picking up the toys. He resisted and kicked and screamed. I gave up and went to the kitchen for a second. When I got in there I noticed that Nephi was laughing now. The little turd, I thought, he was pulling a fast one on me and laughing about it as soon as I left the room! I'll show him! I popped back into the living room, and the sight that met my eyes wasn't what I was expecting.
Sam was standing behind Nephi holding his hands, just like I had done to him for so long, and was showing him how to pick up the toys. They were laughing and having a fun time, making a game out of it. It was a touching sight to see my "special" son caring for his little brother, teaching him with such love and patience... that, oddly enough, he learned from me... only because I didn't give up on him.
Oddly enough, though, the moment only lasted a few minutes. It turned out that Sam, being his sneaky self, had ulterior motives for teaching little bro how to clean up. I will sum in up in one word: Delegation.
Oh, yes. If you are thinking that Sam was suddenly the "supervisor" of the clean up, directing Nephi to which toys to pick up next, you are right.
You know, it is so something I would have done to my little sister...