But his acceptance that his life is a home-packed lunch isn't our biggest problem. The real challenge is getting that home-packed lunch to school where it belongs. You know it's bad when the school receptionist recognizes your call pulling up to the school and is already laughing by the time you open the doors.
He has forgotten his lunch at least 3 times a week since school started in late August. That's a lot of forgotten lunches! So I told him yesterday that if he forgot to take his lunch one more time, I'd spank him. We usually don't use spankings as a behavior deterrent because they don't work for him, but I was hopeful that the fear of it would help him establish the habit. Also, I was slightly at the end of my rope.
Guess what? I opened the refrigerator this morning to pour some half-n-half into my coffee and there was his freaking lunch box. I debated. Let him starve through lunch. Make him eat the cheese sandwich the school cafeteria gives kids who don't have lunch money. Lecture him in front of his classmates. Spank him right there. (Again, dangling right off the end of the rope. Hello overkill ... it's just lunch.)
I didn't do any of those things. I carted his lunch to school and plotted what I would do when he got home. I decided that 9 year old is old enough to be an active participant in memory strategies and that we would work together to create a system that would help him remember that lunch.
When he got him, he was immediately apologetic. I told him to create a list of ideas for remembering the lunchbox, and that if his list wasn't really thoughtful, the spanking would happen. This is what I got:
Apoligy to MomI still have no idea how to solve this problem (and, no, I won't be putting his lunchbox in his bookbag for him. That's part of his morning responsibilities and he needs to do it). Perhaps I'll spend the evening drawing arrows.
I'm sorry that I forgot my lunchbox today. I wasn't paying attention to the time after I brushed my teeth. Then I saw it was 7:08. After that, my stomach starting hurting, then I started to hasten to get ready. But I was in such a hurry that I forgot about my lunchbox. I'm very sorry. I have made a list of ways to remember my lunchbox. Will you forgive me? I used one of my vocabulary words in this letter so it wouldn't be so boring. Did you see I learned how to spell it?
List to help me not forget my LB:
1) Write it on a sticky note
2) Write it on dry erase board
3) When getting milk out in the morning go ahead and put it in bookbag
4) Make it then put 2 ice packs in LB, then put in bookbag
5) Before getting dressed, take it out.
6) Draw arrows lead to the fridge and put a sign that says "open" on it.
7) Wear PJs that have a shirt pocket and put a note inside it and write on a sticky to check the note in my pocket.
8) I am sure there are more ways but my brain just can't think of them. I'm trying really hard.
But guess who didn't get a spanking. ;)
Updated: The child remembered his lunch box this morning thanks to a sticky note on the front door (left by me). He did not, however, remember to get his milk from the freezer. Apparently the sticky note on his lunch box wasn't enough. We may move back to juice since he'll drink it warm ... Ah, parenthood.
Today is the last day of ADHD Awareness Week. I thought this was a fitting anecdote to show both the struggles (forgetfulness, frustration, food) and the fun (creativity, out-of-the-box thinking) that comes part and parcel with the disorder.