During the week my kids do their version of cleaning in their rooms. It's notsomuch clean, but at least everything is kind of shoved out of the way. You know, clean folded clothes under the bed where you can't see them. Dirty laundry on the floor of the closet. Old food items in the toy safe. This is how my husband cleans. He figures if you can't see it, it's clean. To that end, he makes sure that anything left sitting out, gets either shoved in a closet or thrown out. Ta da! Clean! He stinks at that part of cleaning. On the other hand, he's good at the scrubbing part of cleaning, so I can't complain. Or rather, I shouldn't complain, even though I still do. He'll clean the bathroom, wash the floors, vacuum, clean the kitchen, and yes, he even does windows. I hate doing that stuff. I do it, but I don't like it. In an absurd sort of way, I enjoy the organizing kind of cleaning. Putting everything away where it belongs. Videos on the shelf, game pieces with the right game in the right box, Barbies in the doll box, Hot Wheels in the car box. Misc. food and other garbage in the trash. I don't think my husband gets the way I clean. In order to clean a room, I have to first destroy it. Does anyone else do this? I clear out all the junk that's not where it's supposed to be and scoop it into a pile. Then I carefully make sure everything gets back to its proper home.
Today I had this brilliant idea. I decided to pull the carpeting out of the girls' room. It's nasty and stained. God only knows what kind of stuff has been spilled in there over the years. There's a giant blue drawing of a potato person in the middle of the floor courtesy of Clay. It's been shampooed and extracted a hundred times. Every time it's cleaned, I think it attracts even more dirt. It was time to get rid of it. I'm glad I took it out, but boy, was that a project and a half.
So I managed to get the house fairly clean today. It no longer looked like a tornado had hit it. By early afternoon it only looked like a small wrestling match had taken place here. And then the kids got home from school. While I was ripping out carpeting, they were busy redecorating in the Early American Tornado period. When I came out of the girls' room and saw the disaster that was once the family room, I lost it. I had my little tirade, then sat down with a magazine and told the kids that they were cleaning the family room while I rested and read my magazine.
Why is it that kids suddenly act all stupid when you ask them to do something? My son had been giving me all sorts of details on these video games he wants for Christmas. He knew everything about them. My other son had just been reciting copious amounts of information on the care and feeding of chameleons. However, when it came to cleaning up the room, this is what I heard.
KIDS: What should we do?
ME: Clean it up.
KIDS: But how (whine whine whine)
ME: Figure it out.
KIDS: Where does this book go?
ME: The same place it's been for the last ten years.
KIDS: Well, I don't know where it goes!
ME: On the bookshelf!
KIDS: OK, can we go now?
ME: Is it clean yet?
KIDS: I think so.
ME: You picked up one book. Do you see all the other
KIDS: Yeah, but I didn't get it out.
ME: I didn't eat your dinner, yet I cooked it for you. I washed the dishes. I didn't wear your clothes, yet I washed, dried, and folded them for you. CLEAN IT UP!
KIDS: OK, I put two things away. Can I go now?
ME: Yeah, you can go. You can go to bed if cleaning this one room is too hard for you.
Meanwhile, the three year old is blasting off into space because well, because that's what he does. The one year old is walking around with a juice box that she grabbed off the table and is squirting juice from the straw all over the place.
Guess how much of that magazine I read?
I think, from now on, I'll just leave it messy until they're all in college.