I went to tuck in the kids for bed. I tell Jay to turn of the tv in their room. (There's no cable, it's so they can watch movies on the playstation 2.) He trips over something and gets mad. I said, "If you had cleaned your room, you wouldn't have tripped.Daddy may have let you off the hook on cleaning this room, but I am NOT happy about it." I then look at Justin and say, "Justin if you clean this room this week, I will give you ten dollars and get you a special prize. Can you do that for me?" Justin says yes. So Jay gets upset, starts crying and says, "What if I clean it?" I said, "Jay it doesn't matter. You should have cleaned it anyway. I ask you to do ONE thing once a week and you can't even do that. So how about I quit doing things for you. From now on you do your own laundry." At that he interrupts me and says, "I don't know how to do laundry and I don't want to learn!" I said, "I will teach you, and you will learn. If you can't do one thing for me, why should I do anything for you?" He says he doesn't care if I quit doing his laundry. I said, "Fine, you'll go to school with smelly clothes." Again he says he doesn't care. So I turn and walk away.
As I'm walking away I hear the dreaded words "I hate you!"
I whip around and say, "Excuse me? You hate me? Well I'm not exactly loving your behaviour right now. That's ok. I'll remember that. You have a birthday coming up and 'I hate you' isn't going to make me feel generous." He starts crying even more. I turn to leave and hear him mumbling "You're always mean to me."
Again I whip around and say, "I'm mean to you? Let's see, I cook dinner every night so you have something decent to eat. I do laundry so you have clean clothes to wear. I buy you things just because. I make sure the bills are paid so we, including YOU, have a place to live with lights and cable television. And I'm mean to you? Jay, you are 10 years old. You have no idea of how life really is."
At that point I give up and just walk outside for a smoke. When I come back in, Jay comes out of his room and says he's sorry. So I tell him, "Jay, you have no idea how much I love you. For the first 5 years of your life, you were my whole life. All I had was you and Daddy. Yes there are more people, but I still make sure you have things you need and things you want. I don't feel I'm being unreasonable asking you to clean your room ONCE a week. Justin and Korinne clean EVERYDAY. When I was your age, I had to clean the living room, kitchen, do laundry, cook dinner and babysit my Shannon and Billy (sis and bro) because my mother was too busy partying. Do I make you do any of those other than your room?" He shook his head no. I said, "So how am I being mean there? I know you don't make the mess most of the time, but it's the ONLY thing you have to clean." I told him we were still changing the rooms around. We're moving Justin into Korinne's room because it's bigger and I know two twin beds will fit in there. Jackson's crib will be moved into Jay's room because the only way twin beds will fit in there is as bunk beds. Since Jackson's toys are in a container in the living room there will be nothing but beds and dressers in Jay's new room. All the toys will be in Justin's and Korinne's room. And yes they will both be responsible for keeping it clean.
So that's where we are now.