Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Score One For The Mamas

Most of the time, in my life as a Mama, I hear myself saying over and over "Dang! You're so stupid!"

No wait. That doesn't sound right. Let's try again.

Most of the time, in my life as a Mama, I hear a voice in my head SAYING TO MYSELF "Dang! You're so stupid!" As in, you're so stupid it took you so long to figure out that giving Sienna a glass of milk before dinner is a surefire way to make her throw up. Or that the reason Austin is fussy after nursing is because you make enough milk to feed an ant. Or the reason Hannah talks with her hands all the time and rolls her eyes is because you taught it to her. Or that Spence will fall into a coma-like state if the TV is on so turn off the friggin TV!

What I'm saying is that my learning curve is slow. It takes me awhile to figure things out but once I do, it's golden. Sometimes is feels like my brain is literally a step or two behind the rest of the class but I can handle it. I have other skills. Like cooking with garlic.

Was there a point to this? Oh yes, there was and it' a beauty.

During my third week of quarantine with the sickies, I had been through every nook and cranny of this house and cleaned it top to bottom. I saved the biggest job for last because it's the one that makes me want to cover my body in honey and be pecked to death by small birds, which I swear would be less painful.

My children's rooms. Oh, the horror.

In all fairness, true to form, Spence does a pretty good job. He clothes are generally put away, toys are lined up on shelves and bed is basically made. His issue lies in his pack-rattedness. The boy can save! Menus from Red Robin? Check. Cereal box with fun game on the back? Check. Gum wrappers? Check. IT. DRIVES. ME. BATTY. My analness cannot tolerate the germy grossness that I imagine to be living in his room. So I cleaned out all his usual hiding places, under his dresser, behind the bed, in his piano bench and finally breathed a sigh of relief.

Onto the girl's room. Oh. my. shiz. They are the opposite of Spence. They are just dirty trolls. There is no other explanation. Clothes everywhere from the 14 outfit changes they make each day, jewlery, dolls, books, dress-ups, more clothes, tea party sets, crayons and drawings, baby bottles, babies, purses, most of my high-heeled shoes, etc. Trash and grossness everywhere. You can't even walk in their room or find anything in their closet.

I'd like to think they aren't raised this way.

I think I spent three hours in the room of death and destruction before I finally saw the light. I went through their dresser, rotated clothes, labeled bins in the closet, moved 90% of it all to the toy room and finally uncovered a very pretty little girl's room.

Now comes the hard part. How do I get them to keep it that way?

Here's where my brilliance entered in. I got the idea of a "Slack Basket" as in, you're a "slacker" if your stuff ends up in my basket. I took the kids into their rooms and showed them what I expected as far as cleanliness goes. It doesn't have to be as tidy as when I do it, but clothes need to be put away, books on shelves, toys in toy room, etc. Whatever is left on their floor or out of place, goes into my "slack basket" and they have to earn the items back with jobs the following day. So now every night after prayers, they are sent up to their rooms with a few minutes of tidy time before I come through with my basket. If things are thrown in a closet or under a bed, the whole loot comes with me. Brilliant!

I am happy to say that after a week and a half of slack basket rule, their rooms are unbelievably clean. The difference in amazing. And I'm really trying to teach them that it's important for them to take care of their things because they're lucky to have them, and not just because their mom is an evil anal freak. Although I am. And following my quirks is equally important. I think the message is setting in and they are enjoying their space so much more because they can actually move around in them.

The girl's room this morning, untouched by me. Hannah is even helping Sienna make her bed each morning!

Spencer's room. Even though his bed isn't quite made, I'm thrilled!

So there. I'm slow to start but have moments of sheer genius every now and again. Hopeully it all evens out.


tharker said...

Karen, don't ever discount your extreme talents in cooking with garlic! You and only you have that talent down!!!!

Onto your brilliant idea. And I mean BRILLIANT! This is one that I am writing down right now. Hannah's room is in a constant state of crazy and she could definitely use a little boost from the slack basket. Maybe the sloppy troll-ness just comes with the name Hannah?????

hatch said...


In fact I am bringing the slack basket to my house. You are a genious!

Heather said...

Great idea! And YES you are the master of garlic cooking.

AOlson said...

Totally stealing your AWESOME idea!! Love it! Jake too is a pack-rat. He saves everything!! never underestimate how truly genious you are!!

Sarah said...

I'm going through Kendle's own troll mess today, and I'll give your basket idea a try tonight. Good job to your kiddo's for keeping their rooms tidy this week.

Stacia said...

I have always planned on doing this when I have kids, because I WANTED/WISHED I could have done it when I was a nanny! There was never any push for them to properly clean up their belongings! Thanks for reminding me of this.

I love the name though, Slack Basket! I will have to steal that!

Tell Hannah for me that she her room is so pretty and she is doing a great job cleaning up. She always did an awesome job cleaning up at preschool! :)

Dallin & Ashley said...

Wow, Karen, You are amazing. I love the idea. One day, when I have children, this idea will definitely be implemented. Because if my kids are anything like I was. . . oh man. I was sooo bad. My room was in a constant state of confusion; clothes, books, toys EVERYWHERE. I fear what I will have to deal with. :)

And your kids rooms are so cute! I love em! The girls room is so fun and girlie, just the way it should be. :) Hope all is well! We'll be back home in 2 weeks and 2 days and counting!! So excited!

Tiffany said...

Are you serious????? This is sooooo AWESOME!!! LOVE IT!!! What a great idea and the rooms look so good!

lindsay>boo said...

I'm glad to know that my girls aren't the only ones who are dirty trolls. The Slack Basket is a great idea. I'm going to try it too. Look at that--2 great things about ya--Cooks with garlic AND Slack Basket genius!

Amy said...

Your girls are dirty trolls, too? I have recently done the same thing in my girls room. Sadly, I don't have a "toy room" in my house, but I have been much better lately making my girls clean up each night, so their room doesn't get too trashed.
p.s. I've tried the slack basket idea in my house, and sadly, my girls don't care enough to earn it back. So instead I just have a bag of stuff that gets in my way. Nerdies!

stylist to the stars said...

Their rooms look awesome and you are the jedi master of garlic.

Brooklet said...

yeah, this one is really a great idea! something I am going to incorporate- because I usually threaten that I am going to throw away any toys I find on the floor after she was suppose to clean up- but it has really always kinda been an empty threat. great idea!

Kelly said...

Being pecked by small birds while covered in honey?? You are a writing genius in additon to having mad garlic cooking skills!

I LOVE this idea. I'm using it tonight. Now I just need to find me a slack basket! (I bet there's one under all of Nolan's junk!)

Andre said...

At least you figured it out. My favorite thing to do is to clean my girls' room while they are at school to get rid of all the "treasures". Last week I had a few minutes of "I'm sick of toys everywhere" and threw away a play piano that the batteries were dead, and a play tent that is set up in the basement but always ends up falling over. The best part is the girls haven't even noticed-- even that a tent is gone!

Logging my 10,000th hour in lunch detention said...

A. I was literally laughing aloud at your interjections throughout the post.
B. Studies show that it takes 10,000 hours of practicing anything to be a genius at it. (Think Beethoven, Bill Gates, etc)
C. Clearly you've spent that amount of time cleaning rooms! And writing hilarious blogs... And probably cooking with garlic :)

Lisa said...

Their rooms are GORGEOUS!!!!!

Love your idea of the slack basket. Because we have some of the same issues happening out our house. I'll give it a try :)

MADF said...

I not going to tell you how great your idea is. You have to big of a head as it is. So if you could teach my wife how to keepthe house clean I would be greatful. What is up with the music, I want to kill myself when I hear it. Try a little American music will ya.