Bossed into Cleaning by a Seven Year Old
January 20, 2009
Yesterday, as I decided I would take a day of rest with my children, I was shocked and surprised when my 7-year-old daughter came up to me and declared, "Today I want to declutter and organize my room." This, coming from a girl who lives by the motto: "Where I drop my toys, that is where they belong."
I immediately jumped up and raced to her room as if my tail was on fire. A child of mine was asking to organize and clean her room? It was a monumental event in our household. I am normally the nagging mother who has to practically threaten my kids to clean their rooms. (Two teenagers have trained me to fear the rooms they inhabit.) Honestly? I completely expected her to do as she has in the past where cleaning means moving things from one side of the room to the other and maybe throwing away one or two toys that are broken beyond repair and declaring it clean.
I could not have been more wrong. I have not seen a mass cleaning, organizing, and de-cluttering like this since I was pregnant with her and nesting. This girl was practically brutal about ridding her room of toys she doesn't play with anymore.
I would hold up a toy that was in perfect shape and she would shake her head with determination. "Get rid of it."
"What about this? Do you want it?" I would question again and again.
"Get rid of it."
It became her mantra.
At this point, I was checking her eyes to see if perhaps her body had been invaded by some alien species. It certainly wasn't the way my daughter normally behaved. However, I ran with it. I was hoping that this new "behavioral change" was contagious and my teenagers would catch it. (They did not.)
After a few hours and huge piles of toys she no longer wanted, her room was looking great. As she stood back she began to tell me how she felt her room would look better if we rearranged her furniture. I was beyond exhausted at this point but was not about to discourage her excitement of having a clean, organized room.
As she dictated where she wanted things to go, I became a furniture mover extraordinaire. With pride, she looked around her room and declared that now she could make her bed easier and "the flow was much better for her." (I began to question whether or not she has been sneaking out of bed at night and watching HGTV.)
After hours of cleaning, pints of sweat, and a back that felt as if I had been body slammed, she finally declared that she was finished.
I felt proud of her, and felt as if together we had spent a wonderful day doing something very productive.
"So? You are happy now? This is how you want things? We are finished now?"
She stood in her doorway looking around her room like a drill sergeant examining the troops' barracks and declared, "Today we are finished. Tomorrow we can do better."
With my mouth agape I began to stutter and stammer. "But...but...but...we...I mean it is good...what needs...I am so tired! This is good. Why do you need me in here tomorrow while you are at school? Because I think this looks really good!" (I never thought I would try to talk my own child out of further cleaning and organizing.)
In exasperation she looked at me with her hands on her hips.
"Mom, tomorrow I think you should focus on your room. Have you seen the work it needs?"
Though I am thrilled that she decided to suddenly become a clean and organized person, I do sort of hope that this pod person disappears soon.