MWUH-HA-HA! (Insert maniacly happy mama laughter here) (and here) We used to have this drive-mama-nuts-never-ending problem aound here. Wait, wait, let me back up... There are two main jobs that the boys take turns doing (the other stuff if just help me as it comes up, these are assigned): updating the calendar and taking care of the dog.
Updating the calendar is just a job to make sure we are expanding our concepts of days and weeks and months, and it was the job to be had.
Feeding the dog on the other hand, well, that happens twice a day, and you have to get him water too. If you spill it you have to clean it up. If you don't get him enough of whatever he needs, you have to go back an extra time. Perfect for learning the "if something's worth doing, it's worth doing right." This job has created lots of less than stellar attitudes and unnessecarry reminders.
But the problem, the real problem, the one that was driving me nuts/bonkers/distracted?
It becomes crazy. It starts with who goes down the stairs first. Then it's who knocks first. Then it's who gets their plate first. It spreads like some lethal germ into every cotton-pickin thing.
But I have done it. I have cracked the code. (More of that laughter here) It has been nearly a month, and it is still working. Are you ready for this? I took the two crummy things and squashed them together, and now (more here), well, I'm practically giddy.
What? Slow down and explain, crazy giddy woman? Oh.
I took the undesirable job and paired it with the desired thing: On your day to feed the dog, you get to go first in any disputable thing.
Yup. That simple. Happy dog. Happy Mama. And the disputes about first have dwindled down to nothing, and everyone wants to feed the dog.
*Disclaimer: No, I am not that brilliant. I just remembered my Moma used to do this with dish-duty when we were kids. She's the genius.