Maybe I wasn't specific enough. Maybe the award was not grand enough. Maybe I expected too much.
So I have sent the children into their bedroom to pick up - with the promise of a shamrock shake drive-by - but instead I hear yelling, lightsaber noise effects, lego crashing and detailed conversations on the nature of the galactic space cruiser. I know that the minutes are short and few before I'm in there on hands and knees putting everything in its (sort of) right place, doing their cleaning for them. They stand to the side, sit on their beds, and smile at the loving mother who came to their rescue.
This happens a lot: I give orders, they agree, then two hours later I'm ankle deep in action figures and frilly pink underwear... the room is clean eventually, but they're no closer to independence or responsibility, and I'm a lot closer to a head full of grey hairs and a fraying sense of mental stability. I know there's a missing link between the words in my mouth and the actions of their little fingers, that special something that will snap them into submission.
Do you know what it is? It would really help me out a lot today...