By way of explanation since a couple have wondered about the whole coffee thing... We suspect that Tim is ADD, but he has not been diagnosed. Even if we got him evaluated, we are not willing to put him on medications for ADD. By his teacher's suggestion at his last conferences, we decided to try lowering his sugar intake and giving him caffeine. Within days of the addition of coffee in his morning routine, his grades AND attention span were GREATLY improved. By the 3rd week of having a cup of coffee each day before school he brought home his very FIRST good progress report of this school year! So, the coffee experiment had excellent results and the coffee stays!
My mom taught me that kids tend to talk better in cars because it seems less confrontational to not have the eye contact of sitting across a table or living room from their parents. So, the other day we happened to have about an hour's drive home from a birthday party that I thought would be the perfect opportunity for a talk. Initially, Tim got very deffensive about the subject, but he was able to take a deep breath and just talk about things when we explained that he wasn't in trouble.
The conversation in a (rather large) nutshell went something like this: I stated the situation as I understood it. I asked both boys if I was accurate. Then asked each individually what they thought of the situation and how it was working for them. Got some really honest, surprisingly mature, thoughtful answers. Tim, though he said he wasn't asking or expecting Tadd to take care of all his business, he understood that it was unfair for Tadd to do so. And, he even said he knew that it wasn't a good situation for him to learn responsibility for himself. (woohoo!) Tadd understood that, yes, he was getting what he wanted but he was feeling rather resentful of his brother and taking away his brother's opportunity to learn responsibility. Then I/we talked about the problems that we saw with the situation, which they had mostly addressed all our issues already.
Then came the braistorming part of the conversation, even Letha had some ideas. We listened to many ideas, none were thrown out. I told them ideas that my friends had given me. When we had gone through the exhaustive list we (Tadd, Tim, Mom and Dad) chosewhat we thought would work best, which included parts of more than one of the ideas we came up with.
The Solution: Tim chose to get his clothes and lunch and coffee (gotta love the self timer on that contraption!) ready and set his alarm clock the night before. Tadd will let the alarm clock wake Tim and let Tim turn it off. Mom will allow Tadd to walk by himself to school if Tim isn't ready by 8:10. I think Tim has done a great job this week. I think he has been ready to go everyday by 8:10. I'm sure everyone feels better about the situation!
Now, if I could just get them to stop putting holes in the knees of every pair of pants they own! ;)