My children, the three people I have carried in my body and sustained with my own body both before and after they were born, the people I love more than life itself...these people do have a capacity to drive me crazy.
Several years ago, when I was still an at-home mom, they had developed a very irritating habit. They were all fairly consistent about forgetting things at home, whether it was gym clothes, homework, or lunch. They also had a tendency to miss the bus. All three of them displayed this tendency but Isaac most of all. It got to a point where I was making between 3-8 runs to the school per week just for forgotten items or missed bus trips alone, never mind the scheduled runs like pick-ups after extra-curricular practices and events.
No amount of pleading, begging, or full on flip-outs altered the behavior. I instituted a taxi fare. Yes, I'd be willing to take your slow moving butt or forgotten items to school but there would be a $1 fee imposed per trip. If a child did not have $1 they would be assigned an extra chore to pay for the trip. They children were aghast. In their minds it was my duty to be at their beck and call.
The first year I collected $55 in taxi fares after instituting the system in the middle of the school year. Each dollar went in an envelope with their names on it and I put a mark under the name of the child who paid the fare each time to keep track of it since they each insisted it was their siblings not they themselves who had a problem. With my taxi money I scheduled a massage and sent them each a thank you note for the treat. They were irate. I told them if they wanted me not to have a massage on their dime they needed to make sure they had no need to pay taxi fare. The next year there was a reduction in fares charged for the girls. My son was slower to learn.
Then I became a member of the workforce. Missed buses were a more significant problem and irritated me far more. I jacked up the taxi rate to make my point. The problem persisted. I doubled the rate for my early morning days. The lesson was learned. My son rarely missed the bus and stopped forgetting things. Last year I think I could count on one hand the times I was asked to run him or his stuff.
This year since I have been unemployed he has gone back to his old ways. I am not pleased. Last week I received a text requesting me to bring him lunch since he had forgotten his. I was annoyed and told him so. We went back and forth a few times without me agreeing to bring his lunch. Then he sent the following text:
In my personal opinion, I believe it would be a great privilege if I were to receive a healthy and balanced lunch from the most caring and wonderful woman whom I had the fine pleasure to live in and be birthed from. Regardless of my future, I know your unconditional love will prevail.
I told him I literally laughed out loud. He asked if that meant he'd be getting lunch. I told him since he made me laugh so hard I'd bring him something from home. He tried to negotiate something elaborate or purchased. I told him not to push it.
Later that evening when I was telling Mr. Lime about it, Isaac interjected, "You know, Mom, that was a total test."
"It was a test. One of the other guys at the table said he forgot his lunch and was going to have to ask his mom to bring something from the deli. I told him no way my mom would do that. He didn't believe me so we each sent identical requests to our moms. His mom asked what he wanted, went to the deli, got that and more, and dropped it off at school. I had to negotiate with you for a half an hour and make you laugh hard enough to pee your pants before you brought me a sandwich and fruit from home."
Well, I sure hope you don't forget your lunch from now until you graduated high school, son.