Well, I just spent the last couple of days cleaning out bedrooms. Eight huge black garbage bags full of too-small clothes and extra stuff just headed for a garage sale. We also donated a few other items, as we are cleaning out EVERYTHING.
Reason for the cleaning? My wit's end!
When your social worker and agency "recommend" that you keep it simple, please listen! I thought, truly I did, that I had reduced the amount of stuff in the kids' rooms, but it turns out my version of "simple" was not really simple enough. The yearlings, even after 17 months of structure, rules, and encouragement, can not manage with more than the clothing on their backs and one pair shoes at a time. If they have drawers or closets full of clothing, they will throw it, destroy it, leave it outside, or otherwise waste these items.
I cry when I think of the amount of wasted resources.
Want to send a gift, don't do it unless you don't care if it lasts one day.
What I ended up doing is what I guess I should have done in the first place: I removed ALL clothing, shoes, and toys from their rooms. Everything we kept for the kids is now in one large plastic container--- one per child. Now, they have to ask me for everything. You need clean underwear? Ask Mom. You need shoes? Ask Mom. It is rather tiring for Mom, but I'm hoping that it will teach them to actually appreciate and take care of the items they do have. Even if it doesn't teach appreciation, at least I won't be losing my mind in the mess.
I also have a night patrol: after I have announced bed time and reminded them to pick up their belongings, if anything is left on the floor, I throw it out. I have thrown out (donated) several pairs of shoes, socks, play cell phones, hats, etc. all in just a couple of days. One child now has lost three pairs of shoes in four days. That child's response? The beginning of the week it was, "I don't care." Towards the end of the week it was, "Darn it." Hmmm. Perhaps they are starting to connect the dots.
We are still working with obeying household rules, and the gumball experiment still works (see older post). But even with all the reminding and the incentives, the two older ones still can not take much personal responsibility for their actions. Guess they are just normal kids! In fact, I still get lots of blank stares when I remind them of rules. It has gotten better, especially the lying and stealing--- great strides, in fact. But sometimes they just relapse and seem to forget everything. This is especially true if family or friends visit.
Only other comment for the month is that two of the kids still do not consistently know their ABC's. We've gone back to basics in lots of areas, it seems. Such is the continuing saga of raising lots of kids!