“I just want to be a 10-year old and have my food cooked for me”

So, day 1 of “the new regime” as a friend termed it, got off without a hitch. Actually, much less gnashing of teeth and horror than could have been expected. Lea brought her OCD tendencies to bear on the challenge, and was up at 6AM, dressed and ready to leave for school with her lunch and backpack ready 10 minutes later. Go figure — this from the girl who usually needs at least a full hour each morning to go thru the ritual of futzing around perpetually distracted. She even woke her brother up at 7, which was brave of her — even I shy away from that task, even on good days.

They were clearly both caught up in the novelty of the whole thing, helping each other and chatting excitedly about the day ahead. Unlike some of the horror scenarios we’d heard of, the notion of *not* going to school clearly didn’t cross their minds, even though we’d made it clear at our family meeting last night that they were free to chose to do whatever they wanted with no nagging from us.

Only small snag came when we were all set to go, and Lucas suddenly realized that he’d forgotten to get his lunch box ready. We were making such great time that it really didn’t matter much — he scrambled and got it done in a few minutes flat, but Lea got upset that he was causing her to be late… in reality, we were still wicked early, so early, in fact, that when we showed up to pick up her class mate for our carpool he wasn’t anywhere near ready. I had to explain the new strategy to his parents, and after some initial disbelief and headshaking, their dad wished us good luck with the experiment.

It was the best morning I’d had in a long time — partly because there was something refreshing about the new approach, partly beacuse it was just very rejuvenating not to be urging the two of them along with the same lame ol’ reminders about lunch boxes and the clock and unnecessary hints and tips.

After school Lea was in a really good mood; we came home and I made a determined effort to give her lots of undivided attention. She leaped into doing homework and asked for help with some problems, and it was nice to be able to give her that assistance, though I tried very hard to do it DNSN style. Lucas came home and had some homework to do, too, and he also was unusually pleasasnt to be around — the two of us actually had a good time working on some of his math stuff together. He was aware of the clock and got himself organized before asking for a ride to basketball practice. Lea was going to stay home alone for the five minutes I would’ve been gone, but then changed her mind at the last minute and came along for the ride. Her choice, we obliged.

The kitchen was a total mess, left over from breakfast. I emptied the dishwasher since I’d filled it, but the question now is: will they realize that a) stuff doesn’t get in there by itself, and b) it doesn’t get clean by itself? Dinner was a challenge — Lea dropped the ball halfway thru a command performance of Mac & Cheese. She kind of forgot that she’d put water on to boil, then lost her courage when it came time to read the recipe to make the cheese sauce. Lucas didn’t make it up in time for dinner at all — after I picked him up at basketball he disappeared to find solace with his computer and his flight simulator (apparently he was making a tricky landing in Tokyo — his choice; I would’ve gone for the mac & cheese). He grumped a bit when he came up and found cold leftovers, complained bitterly that this new game was stupid… “I just want to be a 10-year old and have dinner cooked for me.” Yeah? Well, tough luck. Lisa pointed out that it certainly had dad in a better mood, but he countered that it simply put him in a bad mood. After a bit of grumping he got over himself.

Lea took a bath — by herself — and was in bed in time for some stories with mom before nine. Lucas dragged it out a bit, but in truth, he was in bed earlier than on most “naggy” nights, and this without a single prod. We had some good time making up a new story together, and he was definitely asleep earlier than usual.

All in all this has been something of an amazing start. Again, the novelty value may have something to do with it — our guys have always started out enthusiastically on star charts and the likes, and it usually fades real quick after that, in part probably because we as parents are really bad at sticking with it. This time *has* to be different, or we’ll be toast in the long run.