Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Evolution Of Cleaning a Bedroom

At first, you insist they clean it. After a few days who ends up doing the work?

It starts out a mess, after several days of “Clean your room. It’s a mess in there!” Toys, books, clothes, even candy wrappers shoved under the beds. That’s the joy of expecting your kids to take responsibility for their belongings, lol.

You decide you are tired of looking at the mess each time you walk by, so you start shutting the door. The next time you open it the mess has multiplied. I don’t think I want to know what GI Joe and Barbie do when that door is shut, but the toys multiply somehow! Eventually, you start missing the sunlight in the hall that that one room provided. ‘How on earth,’ you begin to wonder, ‘does one room catch all of the light when there are 2 bedrooms on that side of the house!’

You fold. It’s their responsibility, their toys, their clothes, their mess. They should clean it, right? Well, it’s your hall that is now dark and dismal, and they seem to feel no consequences of having a messy room which means, of course, the bedroom will never get clean by them… unless you work with them.

You call them into their room and delegate. “I will pick up the toys,” (of course, they will play with the toys if they are assigned that chore) “You pick up the clothes and put them in the hamper, and you,” meaning child #2, “pick up the books.”

Everyone begins their work, working nicely side by side. You diligently pick up the toys, even scanning the carpet for renegade Lego pieces. Child 1 talks and talks as he gathers the laundry. Child 2 sits and reads the books, but slowly places them on the shelf with your gentle prodding, “No, sweetie, it’s time to clean, not read. But I’m glad you enjoy reading so much!”

You continue to focus on the toys, Lego. By. Lego. Eventually someone has to go potty or someone needs a drink. Of course, the first time they come back immediately. The second time, it takes a few minutes to return. The 3rd time, you call. They come. The 4th time you leave your post in search of the missing party. The 5th time, however, you give up. You finish the toys, you finish the clothes, you finish the books. You make the bed, you do a last minute scan of the carpet for those dang Legos, rev up the vacuum and put the finishing touches on the room. By now the children who live in that room are off enjoying the sun, riding their bikes, or zoned out on the couch with a book.

“They’ll learn,” you tell yourself, “someday…. I hope.”

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