"They need their teeth brushed, Audrey needs her medicine -- it’s on the top shelf of the refrigerator -- and Brita wants to read the book on her bed. Oh, and Audrey should work on her school project, and you need to do the dishes. I’ll be home around 9."
"Okay, got it," I say. "Wait, could you repeat that?"
"Teeth, medicine, book, project. And they can watch videos for half an hour."
My wife leaves for her meeting, and I am in charge of the kids.
I turn on the television for them. Before I know it, they’ve watched nearly two hours of their favorite shows. Then the paint comes out -- Brita paints her mama, Audrey paints robots and flowers. As I begin on the dishes, they play with water in the sink, pretending to wash dishes and make “soap soup,” spilling much of it on the floor. After a snack, they read three books and invent a new game involving blankets and zoo animals, who hide in the blankets. They stay up almost an hour past bedtime.
I do remember the medicine, but it’s too late for the school project. We will have to work on it tomorrow. The kids may be grumpy in the morning, since they stayed up late. The dishes are still out -- and sort of clean. Not the kitchen floor. There is fresh artwork decorating our refrigerator. And there is a new game waiting to be played again tomorrow.
It works for me.
This article comes from the Fall 2009 issue of ADDitude.
To read this issue of ADDitude in full, buy the back issue.