Years ago, there was a Far Side cartoon with a split frame. The first frame is entitled "What We Say to Dogs." In this, the owner is saying, "Okay, Ginger! I've had it! You stay out of the garbage! Understand, Ginger?" and so on.
The second frame says, "What Dogs Hear." In this frame, the owner is saying, "blah blah GINGER blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah GINGER blah blah . . ."
Here is a link to the cartoon.
Anyway, this led me to thinking about Rocky in the morning. He has a simple routine, one which we have written out and posted on the back of his bedroom door. It reads.
--Get up, go to the bathroom, and wash.
--Get dressed, including shoes and socks. (His clothes are picked out the night before.)
--Take your pill.
--Sit at the table and read until breakfast is served.
Notice this does not include things like "make your bed" or "brush your teeth." Those are assigned later.
Here is our regular morning routine. Rocky gets up and comes into kitchen in his pajamas. He looks at the stove to see if there is a chance of eggs. I say, "What should you be doing?"
"Getting dressed," he says. He goes into his room.
Five minutes later, there is crashing and banging coming from his room I say, "What are you DOING in there?"
"Getting dressed," he says, reasonably, squeezing through the door, still in his PJs.
"Not unless you are wearing fur," I reply. "Leave the dog ALONE and finish getting dressed."
"Yes, Mom." Off he trots. Five more minutes go by.
"Rocky," I announce, "you have ONE MORE MINUTE to get dressed before I come in there and dress you myself."
"Yes, Mom." He appears at 59.5 seconds. Invariably, he is wearing something completely different than we originally planned. On a school day in November, he will come out in cordouroy pants and a tank top with a nice sweater vest over it. For church, he will be modeling a too small uniform shirt with holes in it, one which was rescued from the rag bag. Today, a Saturday, we have about eight inches of snow which fell overnight, with several more inches predicted, and we are going nowhere today. Rocky shows up wearing black dress pants and a dress shirt.
"What is that," I ask. "What are you wearing? Why do you have dress pants, Rocky? Honestly, what happened to the clothes we picked out? Rocky! What are we doing today?"
He replies correctly.
"So, Rocky," I say slowly and reasonably and dangerously, "Why? are? you? wearing? dress? pants? and? a? dress? shirt?!"
"I am?" he says.
"GO BACK AND CHANGE!" I yell. "And hang those clothes back up!"
He trots off again. More banging and crashing. More threats of maternal assistance. He comes back in appropriate pants and shirt. However, he is missing shoes and socks.
I used to ask him, "What did you forget?" Now I know better, as he will go in his room and make his bed or get his backpack or brush his teeth.
Now I say, "Rocky: SHOES! SOCKS!"
"Oh," he says, "yes, Mom." Off he goes. By now, there should be a groove in the floor. After much thumping ("I have to find my other shoe!") he comes out and stands and stares at me.
"What do you do next?" He looks blank. "Rocky! Pill." I say. He brings me the pill bottle. "Water?" I ask. "Oh. Yes, Mom." I give him the pill, which he takes. I hand him the pill bottle, which he puts away. He comes back and stares at me. I say, "Rocky! What are you supposed to do now?"
"Sit at the table and read." I look expectantly at him. "Oh," he says. He goes to the table and sits down, gazing at me. I stare back. After a minutes, I say, "Rocky! What are you supposed to be doing now?" He looks blank. Aha! The light dawns. He goes into the living room and rattles around for a minute, eventually appearing with one of his father's astronomy texts. I say, "That's not yours. Try again." Eventually he comes back with a book which he's already read. I let it go.
I figure, 365 days in a year, times seven more years until he is eighteen.... 2555 more times around the mulberry bush. I am thinking of just doing the "Blah blah ROCKY blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah ROCKY" each morning instead. It would most likely be just as effective.