I love Dr Seuss. Marvin K. Mooney, Will You Please Leave Now? is the inspiration for this post title. And as I look around my living room, I see upwards of a dozen Dr Seuss books scattered across the floor. Damn.
My girls do love to read, but the reason the books are all over the place is that they like to build “bridges” with them and skip across the room on them, staying off the carpet (which has transformed into Goopy Gop).
And so, soon, the nagging will begin to get them to clean up the mess they made. It will be a lot of whining and excuses. And I’ll bargain, threaten, bribe… And only if I hit on the right incentive will they comply and clean up.
Now, I will admit that these exchanges are partly my fault because for a long time, I’d clean up for them. I wanted their toys and books put away a certain way and didn’t want to have to re-clean after they did it the wrong way. (Stop laughing. I am not a control freak.) Also, especially at the beginning of my weight loss/ Mojo journey, cleaning up was a major exercise for me- all that bending, reaching, stretching, carrying, walking up and down stairs… So I was glad to do it, to work up a sweat and accomplish a household task at the same time.
But, alas, this means that I taught my kids the unfortunate lesson that Mommy will eventually clean it up herself. Well, as of the past few weeks, much to the Twinsies amazement, Mommy’s all “oh hell to the no!”
If you are a FB friend, you probably saw a series of posts a few weeks back in which I lamented my messy house and the lack of help from the girls.
I told them that I would NOT give them fairy braids or pig tails until they cleaned up. I would NOT get out the play doh or the markers or any other art project until they cleaned up. For some reason, they looooove watching me play on the Wii- especially Super Mario Bros. So, that was also off limits until the chores were done. So was the play ground, playing in the yard with bubbles, going shopping with Mommy (they love shopping carts). But, no. Didn’t work. No go, Peeps, no go.
Then I went the “if you don’t take care of your things you don’t deserve them” route. I grabbed a large black trash bag, and in a rage, put everything on the living room floor into it and hid it in my closet. It’s still there, by the way. That didn’t work either. Lala said, “It’s okay, Mommy. We don’t need so many toys anyway.” Wily Little Monster. She also told me, when I threatened to do the same with her bedroom floor, “I’m a big girl now. I don’t need toys anymore.” *sigh*
How did she get so clever in the art of negotiation/manipulation? I blame Ruby, from Max & Ruby. Just because I don’t like that bossy little brat. Haha.
So, taking away the toys didn’t work.
I tried bribing them with ice pops or Smarties or with these cute ice cream push pop kit dealies:
That just resulted in more whining on their part about how I never let them have anything fun. And I ended up feeling hella guilty for attempting to use food as reward. As a chubby chick myself, really, Peeps, I should know better. Double Damn.
In the end, I was frustrated and resigned to the fact that I’d probably have to clean up after them until they go to college. And I started to feel bad for their future dorm mates and wondered if I should start saving for a cleaning service along with their tuition. I turned to my friend Burnett’s Cherry Vodka for solace.
Then Hubby started his two week vacation. He woke up one morning and filled up their kiddie pool. That’s when I uttered this magical phrase, “We can go in your little pool if you clean up your room!”
Aaawww, Yeah!!! That’s all it took! They cleaned up everything in their room, in the upstairs hallway, in the play area. It probably took less than 30 minutes and they had put everything in the proper bin, bucket, shelf, and were getting all greased up with SPF 50. Amazing.
So, now I’m looking at my living room floor, filled with The Cat in The Hat and Horton Hears a Who and Horton Hatches and Egg, and other Early Reader books like Are You My Mother? (in both Spanish & English). And I’m wondering which incentive will work to get these books shelved…
I’m gonna go with “Want to watch Mommy play Just Dance 3 on the Wii?” Kills two birds with one stone.
Wish me luck, Peeps.