It is funny how kids can behave so differently at home then they behave other places, like at Grandma’s house or at a friend’s. I can remember when I was a little girl I would gladly help my aunts or one of the neighbor moms with any housework they were doing. I would not offer this same help to my mom. Jenna was the same way. I really think most kids are. I can remember when she would go somewhere to spend the night the mom would always comment on how helpful she had been. That was not the Jenna that I knew.
Amara is exactly the same way! Her bedroom here is always very nice and neat. She almost always makes her bed (mostly for Twursula!). She always wants to sweep and to help me with things. I would bet she is the same way at her other Grandma’s. She is not nearly as co-operative with her own Mom when it comes to keeping her room clean!
I told you about Jenna making her a quarter jar for every time she forgets to turn her lights off. Grandma Susan blogged link about the problem of grandchildren leaving all the lights, TV, music, etc. turned on when they leave the room. This electricity thing is a big problem, not just for those paying the light bill but also for our environment.
We don’t have that problem with Amara when she is visiting! It ended years ago for our household. I think it was 2008 and it was a very hot summer. Admittedly, Grampy and I had become very complacent about our electrical usage and we did not even think about what the light bill might be like when we ran the AC nonstop during that heat wave. But the light bill came. And it was ugly. We decided then and there that we had to do something about it. We set out to change our bad habits. We changed out all of the light bulbs to the squiggly kind and we started turning things off! Or not turning them on until we really needed to! We put a ceiling fan in the office, the hottest room in the house. And no more leaving all of the computers, monitors, printers, etc. on all night long. We unscrewed 3 of the 5 light bulbs in the vanity and bathroom mirrors. Right now as I sit and type this, the only lights on in the house are on here in the office. The kitchen and front room are dark. We made changes and we made a huge impact in our light bill. And it just kept getting better.
But the key to our success was when Grampy came up with the slogan “Energy Alert”. If someone left a light, or the TV or something turned on the person finding it would call out “Energy Alert! Energy Alert! Grandma left the light on in the kitchen” or “Energy Alert! Energy Alert! Amara left her light on!”. It was never done to be mean, it was always done with a slightly teasing tone but it was always fun. And it was always the goal of the teasing to save electricity and money! The person finding the Alert had to fix the problem. Our light bills for last year (2011) were 43% less than what they ran back then!
Of course out of every great idea comes other great ideas and at least one idea you wished hadn’t been created – at least that is how it goes around our house! Energy Alert led to Soda Alert which meant they needed to be brought in from the garage and put in the refrigerator; Frozen Yogurt Alerts when Grandma forgets to freeze them; Cat Food Alert when Twiggy is DYING!. All of these were fine. Of course, Amara’s favorite was “Toilet Paper Alert” which is best yelled at the top of your lungs so that someone can rescue you quickly.
Jenna hates it when we teach her these things! Love you Jenna!
This post has been linked to Say it Saturday at Family Home and Life.