Dear Reader, 

Happy New Year! By now I’m guessing you’ve all had your fill of corny “2020” jokes, so I’d like to take this opportunity to recap the central issues this blog has addressed since its inception nearly 2 years ago.   You’ll also be getting an update on the progress (and regression) I’ve seen in my kids in relation to these issues, sort of a “Where are they now?” of my family. 

I’ll start with Nahtmee. Nahtmee was a recurring character in my earlier posts. Nahtmee is gender fluid and he/she is the entity who was blamed for all manner of transgressions from wiping boogers on the furniture to leaving empty potato chip packages in the cupboard to neglecting to flush the pee-filled toilet.  Whenever I questioned my 4 children to determine who the culprit was, their answer was always “Not me! Not me!” and so, Nahtmee, the scapegoat, was born. 

I’m pleased to share that Nahtmee, my beloved 5th child, has all but vanished from our lives as my kids simultaneously display more accountability, quickly fessing up to their crimes, as well as an understanding that I do, in fact, know everything and therefore lying is futile. Is this progress? It’s hard to say. 

Apropos toilets being flushed, I’m so pleased to announce in this annual end-of-year shareholders’ report that compliance is up by roughly 60%.  While this can be partially attributed to the fact that 25% of my children (my oldest son) are studying abroad for the year, I can tell you in all honesty that it is because certain non-flushers in our household are maturing and taking more of an interest in considering their surroundings. To say that it is a monumental achievement in my parenting career is putting it mildly. 

In February I wrote an article called “How I Got Most of My Kids to Turn Off the Lights” in which I shared my nearly foolproof plan to get my kids to stop their costly and irritating habit of leaving their lights blazing in empty bedrooms. I instituted a “pay a Pound ($1.33) if you leave your lights on” penalty and it has had a moderate degree of success, if success is measured by a charitable organization receiving a donation from my kids who can’t freakin remember to shut their lights. Actually, compliance is up, again due to one child being away, and two making more of an effort. One son is in serious danger of having his lightbulbs removed from their casings and being left with no choice but to use a flashlight. It’s the only tactic I have left. 

I’m so proud to say that my kids have all gotten way better at throwing out empty snack packages (and making a loud announcement when they do so; a small price to pay for progress), the one who leaves socks on every floor of the house is making a concerted effort to throw those socks in the laundry and overall they are more forthcoming with their willingness to engage in household related work. No one, however, is interested in reading books or newspaper articles when gently prompted (ok, ordered) to do so.  This is something for us to work on in 2020.  

In other news, hand washing and tooth brushing compliance are down (although lying about having done either of these is way up) and will be addressed in the first quarter of 2020.  Compensation and bonus packages (AKA allowance) will be tied to performance in these areas. 

Overall there is more of a sense of self sufficiency as was exhibited during our recent holiday travel which was seamless. They all packed their own suitcases, unpacked upon arrival and repacked to return home. When your kids can wheel their own luggage through an airport, the second half of your life begins. 

My gang is becoming more considerate, more thoughtful…. but hopefully not TOO much more, because as my youngest said to me earlier this year, ‘Mom, if we were perfectly behaved kids you’d have nothing to blog about”. And he was right.

Happy New Year and thanks for reading. I hope your 2020 is peaceful, fulfilling and surprising in all of the best ways. 

Lots of love

Gila (The Mom Who Knew Too Much)

PS: the accompanying photo features me with a pair of my son’s socks which I found right there on the kitchen floor. In the interest of full disclosure, this photo was taken early in 2019 when sock-pickup compliance was down. ( photo credit: Sarah Raanan)

PPS: I will also continue to use my blog as a platform from which to share my experience with breast cancer in order to promote awareness and prevention so on this very first day of 2020, let me remind you to #feelitonthefirst. Check yourselves!

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