Jamie's demeanor and behavior were improved over the weekend (not perfect, mind you, but I don't expect perfection). On Saturday, he worked really hard on his room and helped me with several chores around the house: cleaning the living room (we're about halfway there), sorting/folding/putting away laundry (~3-4 loads), unloading the dishwasher for me, and doing a lot of fetching for me while I was cleaning. Yes, there were times I had to keep repeating myself, and yes, there were times we butted heads, but he was markedly improved.
Because he was so improved, I was wracking my brain to figure out what was different... and it hit me: SLEEP. He'd gotten 10 hours of sleep Friday night, and 9.5 hours of sleep Saturday night. On a typical school night, he delays, procrastinates, and downright fights going to bed. He'll find excuses to pop back up out of bed (have to pee, I'm thirsty, I'm hungry, etc.) The main problem is the medication he's on. It kills his appetite, so Jamie doesn't get hungry until between 8 and 9 p.m. That's when, ideally, he should be in bed getting ready to go to sleep. The best solution would be for him to not be on the medication at all. We tried that, though, and it didn't work. Oh, how it soooo did NOT work. So, the next best solution is to make him take the meds earlier so it will wear off earlier. Only problem is, that means he would have to get up earlier, which means he has to go to bed earlier... Which, if you've read the above, you know is going to be a struggle.
However, last night I put my foot down and got his butt in bed by 8:30. This gave him 30 minutes to dither around and pop up a few times to get a drink, get a snack, settle down, etc. He was out like a light by 9 p.m. I woke him up at 6:50. I did notice he didn't snarl at me nearly as badly as he normally does. I'm going to put his butt in bed by 8:30 all this week and see if that improves things.
I also had a long talk with him over the weekend about WHY his behavior has been unacceptable, and why he HAS to be a contributing member of the household. I made several things clear to him, such as the fact that I haven't allowed any of his friends to come over because the house is disgusting and because he's been generally nasty little boy (in both manner and hygiene). I told him that the house won't STOP being disgusting unless he gets off his butt and helps me out, and the friends still won't come over if the demeanor and hygiene don't improve. Furthermore, there will be no Christmas tree or decorations put up until the house is clean (that got his attention!) I reiterated the fact that my work schedule, our church activities, and his extracurricular stuff means I can't keep the house clean all by myself. I also told him that he hasn't gotten any real allowance in a long time because he hasn't been helping. If he wants money, he needs to get off his butt. He pointed out to me that he feels like when we get home I'm either too busy to really sit and listen to him, or I'm on the computer. Okay, I've been guilty of that, I admitted, so I'm going to make sure each night that he has my undivided attention for at least 30 minutes. Whether we use that time to read his book together, to take a walk (now that it's cool enough) or to play a game or whatever.
The school issue (for now) seems to be resolving itself. The threat of being kicked out of his clubs and the magnet program lit a fire under him, and he got all his work caught up. He even worked AHEAD on his reading assignments for this week! He's two assignments ahead, and I'm going to make sure he stays that way so he won't have anything looming over his head next week. They get the whole week off for Thanksgiving, and I'll be getting Wed-Fri off, so I want us to spend some quality time together. We're also going to be doing some cooking, baking and major scrubbing of the house.
I'll be sure to keep y'all informed on how things are going.