Thursday, January 29, 2009

How to feed 6 people for under $6

My kids never go without. They have 3 square meals a day, an endless supply of snacks, toys galore, satellite TV-complete with several cartoon channels, including the Disney Channel. In return, they do NOTHING. I remember growing up, and by the time I was 9, I was doing every shred of laundry in the house for my family consisting of 7 members. I remember I had the job of dusting a long time before that, so I'm sure I had chores before the age of 6, which is how old Andi is. I didn't have a "boom box" until I was probably 10-12 years old, and Andi has one of those already. The one thing we ask is that every few days (when it becomes absolutely impossible to walk through the destruction) they clean up their bedrooms and the gameroom. After all, if they got the toys out, it is obvious that they know where they go, or at least where they came from. Tuesday night, we had one of these battles. You know how it goes...first a promise of a reward, intermittantly followed by more serious and severe promises of punishment. I was exasperated with Andi and Dylan for not cleaning. After all, Peyton was busily scrubbing his artwork off the wall with a magic eraser, and if a 2 year old can clean, why not a 4 and 6 year old? I finally told them that if I did not see an improvement, and caught them playing instead of cleaning, that they would go to bed WITHOUT dinner. That's right, it was nearly 6:00 at the time, and I was serious. They failed to heed my warning, so they went to bed...without dinner. Peyton and Soni got to eat with us, but the other 2 wer banished to their rooms. Andi also lost her stereo privileges until further notice, but that's a result of the fit that ensued.
Fast forward to last night...
Again, the mess had not been cleaned up, and Cameron had had enough this time. First, he helped them clean up until they stopped cleaning, and he was doing it all alone. The whole time he just kept telling them that they would determine when we would have dinner. The faster they cleaned, the sooner dinner would come. He said that bedtime would still be at regular time (8:00) so if the mess wasn't cleaned up by then, too bad. Well, 8:00 came and went, and Cameron announced that "dinnertime" had passed. The very thought of another night without dinner made Andi collapse into a puddle of tears, and made my mind flash to the inevitable chat I would have with CPS. I played good cop, and told them that I would make them "dinner" really quick. Being so close to grocery shopping day, our resources were slightly limited, but they did get dinner. It consisted of 2 slices of toast each, a banana or some other form of fruit, and juice. A meal fit for any convict. Top that off with the fact that Cameron and I each ate Ramen noodles, and you have what has to be the most inexpensive meal EVER!

Loaf of bread- $1.09
Butter- 50 cents (at least for the amount of butter we used)
Ramen noodles- $2.00
Juice boxes- $1.97

Teaching your children that your threats aren't so idle- PRICELESS!


Brooks said...

If you want them to pick up their toys, just announce that if the toys are not cleaned up in 15 minutes, that Mommy is doing it, by way of the garbage. Kids get desperate when they know that their "boom boxes" are going to D.I..
All I have to do with Ethan now, is pull out a garbage bag and do that "shake" thing that you do to open it. He hears the noise, and hops to.
Of course, you have to be willing to follow through. If the toys are not cleaned up... throw some away. THAT gets attention, quick.

Deanna said...

I agree with the above comment. We did that one night a few months ago and it was horrible...I almost had to leave because I couldn't stand the shrieking. Tara, who was cleaning, was crying like her arm had been cut off, Cate, not so much. He filled an entire black trash bag and they now clean when asked. It was not fun to experience, but it worked for us.

Sami said...

We've tried that in the past, but we never actually threw any that was probably where we went wrong. They sat out in the garage for a month or so, until we finally gave them back. My kids, when threatened with the trash bag, now ask us to get a trash bag when they don't want to clean. They think it's the easy way out. Maybe if I made Dylan give away Sparky, he would have a different attitude!