Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 3: Was This A Good Idea?

Before reading this post, you may want to first read: "What Do You Expect?" Then, "Day1: Giving Up Control, A Little Bit." Then, "Day 2: Stressing My Kids?" It may make a little more sense with the back story to this "experiment".

Was this a good idea? That question kept rolling through my head as I tripped/jumped/avoided toys, markers, crayons, books and  paper spread all over my house. I avoided going into Tenly and Gianna's bedroom to much- they played so nice all day- but I knew with that was coming a tripling of "the mess". 
They sounded so cute, so at one point I went in to see what they were up to- oooohhh my! 
"WOW", I said when I walked in to see Tenly's bed covered with what seemed like every toy they owned. The sting of "the mess" did fade as they both excitedly told me what they were doing. "Mommy, come and take ride with us on our boat raft that we made! We have food to eat, books to read, food for the fish, sharks and alligators, even lotion so we don't get too much sun- aren't we using our smart brains?!" It quickly became a picture of a vivid imagination instead of "the mess"- how can one (me) be overwhelmed by that?

The day and "the mess" went by a bit easier after that moment- of course with the help of ironing, laundry, and cleaning the bathrooms.

By the end of the day as the girls were taking their bath, I took the opportunity to do a walk through surveying the state of our home and "the mess". I was proud that I was less overwhelmed and started to think of how I would approach "the clean up" on Thursday. I knew it was going to be overwhelming- but that was another teachable opportunity- if we clean up as we go every day (I will leave out "quickly without being reminded"- learning patience and endurance) it is not as much and we don't end up crabby and overwhelmed. I think we will make a list together of what we need to do and break it up during the day. Anyway, I am getting ahead of myself...

As I stared at the mess in their bedroom (the living room was not even a thought after looking at it), I started imagining what bed time was going to look like with the mountain of toys still on Tenly's bed. I decided that 
just in case they would choose to want to clean it up, I would start the bed time process a little early. 

"How am I going to sleep?" was Tenly's immediate response after staring at her bed.
 I had thought of what my response would be earlier (was not totally convinced it was the right one, but I gave it a shot), "I don't know honey, you guys chose not to clean up after playing- you have a few minutes before it's time to go to sleep- what do you want to do?"
"MOMMY, YOU are suppose to tell us to clean up!", Tenly said with her hands on her hips.
Gianna agreed with her hands also on her hips.
I explained, "No, remember- it is all you and Gianna's decisions until Thursday what you do and do not want to clean up. So, what do you want to do."
Tenly asked, "We get to decide now, too?" I nodded. "I don't think I want to clean up, I will just sleep on the floor."

OH, my heart! I calmed my OCD nerves as I agreed to let her sleep on the floor. Tenly quickly gathered her pillow and blanket and piled it on the floor next to Gianna's bed (which had no toys). We prayed, I dispersed kisses on their heads and left the room with a bit of a heavy heart. I was convinced that my "big idea" was accomplishing absolutely nothing. I realized I was going to have to come to grips with the fact that deep down my girls were the unthinkable....MESSY!

As I was typing at the computer, Tenly comes to me about 15 minutes after I had tucked them in. She looked very pitiful as she told me she didn't know what to do. I asked her what was wrong, and with tears rolling down her cheeks she said, "I miss my bed and I don't like that mess, I MISS MY BED!!" At this point, the Hallelujah chorus was resounding in my head! I explained that they had made a choice and it was past their bed time, it was to late to clean up now. She continued to cry and declare she missed and needed her bed. Okay, just so you don't think I am a heartless Mom with no compassion, yes, she was breaking my heart. SO, I gave her and Gia 10 minutes to get her bed cleaned off, no playing, and back in their beds. Here comes the exceptional part....

I expected them to both just throw all of the toys on the floor, obviously this would be the fastest and easiest short term solution. Then I hear Gianna tell Tenly, "Tenly, let's put it all in the right places really fast. Bring me the stuff in the closet and I will put it in the right place." Tenly responds with, "Good idea Gianna, then it will be all done when we wake up." Music to my ears, another Hallelujah chorus echoed through the house, and I did do a little happy dance (when they weren't looking).

My girls cleaned up that mess in record time, not even one little break to talk or play- THAT is impressive! Towards the end of the clean up I heard Tenly say to Gianna, "Gianna, we did it, we did it! We are the fastest cleaners ever!" Ten minutes after they began, I tucked Tenly into her bed with her Monkey Boy and she said, "Thanks Mommy, I love my bed."

The night ended very well. We have all learned something through this little experiment, and I think it has been well worth it. Even Lupe said last night that he cannot wait to have the house back to normal. As much as I have learned, Thursday is going to be a very  happy clean up day!

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