"Writing is not necessarily something to be ashamed of. but do it in private
and wash your hands afterwards." --Robert Heinlein.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Messy Kids





I thought Buddy was going to be our neat kid. The one who cleaned up and put things away. As a toddler he was very adamant about things going where they belonged. Unfortunately, his older sister doesn't have a neat bone in her body, and all of her bad habits (being messy, being unable to clean, staying up late) have worn off on her little brother. This next kid better be the one who likes to clean.

Yesterday my kids had out bits and pieces of every toy they owned and you couldn't walk in their room. We spent a good hour before bedtime getting their room clean (but not the playroom, which was still a bit messy at bedtime). This morning I've been starring at the wall, overwhelmed by how much cleaning, etc. I still need to do before the baby comes and the kids have been upstairs playing. I got a burst of energy and decided we needed to do Princess Sparkley's school for the day and went to get her school books from her room and bring them down to the kitchen table where we do her school work. Their room is a DISASTER. Not as bad as last night... but about 65% of last night. And it's only noon. They've only been up there playing for an hour, maybe an hour and a half. AHHHH!

How do I get them to clean? Princess Sparkley's response is to sort of haphazardly clean up until it loses her attention. Buddy just keeps playing while Princess Sparkley yells at me that he's not helping, and at him that he needs to help. The other day I asked her to clean up the family room (they had toys all over) and when I looked downstairs it actually looked clean. I asked her where she'd put everything (knowing her well enough to know that she didn't actually put anything away. Maybe it was stacked on the stairs to go up, who knows.) She said, "I put some under the [coffee] table and the rest I just stuck in spots." So, the toys were all under the table and on the bookshelf, etc. Not really "cleaning" in my book.

The one thing that gets stuff about 80% clean is threatening to vacuum. And I don't pick up their toys before I vacuum, so if it's on the floor, it's getting vacuumed up. This moves them into action really quickly. But still, only 75% of the stuff actually gets sort of put away. The rest gets put on the couch or the table so it's clear of the vacuum.

Last night I threatened to throw all of their toys away. My husband informed me that would be foolish, we should sell them. But I don't want to go through all the work to sell so many individual toys on ebay. And then ship them. It makes me tired to just think about it. BUT, I could list them as a lot. Their heading would be something like this: "Lot of children's toys - interesting to girl age 5, boy age 3- loved." It would be like the lady who sold the Pokemon card box on ebay that one of her kids stuck in her grocery cart while she wasn't looking and she wrote a whole story about her kids and what they'd done and why they didn't get to keep the said Pokemon cards. Now she's a famous blogger, paid writer and probably has a book deal in the works. I could make a fortune... but probably not off the toys.

6 comments:

AshbyFamily said...

Mess drives me nuts - not to the point of OCD Clean, but I like the house picked, at least at the end of day. I made upa little game with my boys called the 5 o'clock clean up. At 5pm I anounce that the timer has been set for 15 minutes, and we race (including me) to get as much cleaned as possible before Ben gets home from work at 5:30. It's amazing how much can get done in 15 minutes. Most everything finds a place and the house is moderately clean. Then we have dinner, family time, showers...and my favorite - kids bedtime 7-7:30ish. Then once they are in bed I enjoy not having to pick up after them, and just have to clean the kitchen from dinner.

Please keep in mind this does not happen everyday...but I like to try. And some days, the kids don't want to play mommy's really cool clean up game.

Since you are in nesting and organizing mode - I totally understand your frustration.

Cristin Lassen said...

Selling the toys on Ebay sounds pretty good to me. Of course shipping would probably be a lot, but maybe the new career as a paid blogger that you will get by doing it will compensate for that.

Jamie said...

Oh my gosh. This is my life. The mess in their room is always out of control. We clean it up and while we are cleaning it up, Liam is throwing and dumping. It drives me ca-razy! At least it is mostly contained to just their room/playroom though now. We need a gate in our kitchen entry to keep Liam out. He is out of control. I always say we should throw stuff away too. I guess Jake's dad actually did that and he's never recovered. You should've seen his face when I first said we should throw away the toys.

You're about to have a baby!

wendys said...

So do your kids really play by themselves for an hour or more? Because I would trade any mess for my kids who play together for long periods of time! I'm already calculating how much I could get done if I just had one hour to myself each day...

wendys said...

correction: "I would trade any mess for my kids TO play together for long periods of time"

I'm not very good at typing with kids on my lap...

Hatch Building Co. said...

Cleaning up is definitely an art form!! I've heard of some people who have clean-up time...and then what ever is not picked up goes in a bag - which stays in 'time-out' - until the kids can pick up what they have left properly.

Also, my sister is great about only leaving a few toys out for her kids - which I think is a great idea. The rest are in storage containers in the garage, and she just rotates through them every few months. Her kids aren't overwhelmed with a ton of stuff...to play with...or clean up:)

I think it is smart to realize there could always be something to worry about - like Wendy said. Some kids don't spend much time playing together at all, which is a whole different scenario to deal with...

Anyways, I hope you're feeling well - and that you get everything done that you want to get done before the baby comes....and without permanently damaging anything;)!

Lindsay

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