Saturday, June 12, 2010

A Clean Room is a Sign of a Boring Person

Are there some traits and habits we are simply born with? I would have said I could go either way on that. But then I had Amy.

Amy is inherently messy. Like Pigpen from Peanuts, she is a cloud of mess. And she leaves a trail behind her like breadcrumbs. Wherever she takes off her shoes, there they sit. Her clothes are in a puddle right where she stepped out of them. I know what she had for lunch, because I can follow her cheese wrappers, apple core, juice box and bits of bread all the way out of the kitchen.

When Keith was a toddler we allowed food and beverages in other rooms besides the kitchen. That was until we found a sippy cup in his toy bin with milk in it. I guess I should really say "milk glob" because it had spoiled and congealed into a big smelly lump. Immediately we had a new house rule: no food or drinks outside of the kitchen/dining room.

This, I know, has kept us out of a world of trouble concerning Amy and her habits. I have visions of having all manners of bugs and creatures making a home in her room amongst her cast off sandwiches, soda cans, etc. If only I could convince her that containing a mess in the kitchen does not necessarily make it okay.

When she has wanted to go play with a friend badly, and been required to clean her room beforehand, she has been known to stash clean, folded clothes in her dirty clothes hamper. And I have found her toothbrushes in her shoe bin, the cat's food bowl, and the back seat of the car.

Don't get me wrong, I adore Amy. She is vivacious, funny, smart and generous. And I don't know that she enjoys messes. I think she just doesn't want to take a millisecond away from enjoying herself.

We are working on this. She sees the benefit of being organized to be able to find things- even if she doesn't want to take the time to do it. And she has a huge phobia of bugs. So she totally gets not keeping things around that bugs will want to come find.

She's eight. So I figure I have about nine or ten years to get her to change her messy ways before she goes off to college- so that she can be messy without me telling her she has to clean up after herself. In the meantime, we'll be a work in progress...


Catch the Kids said...

I have a son exactly like your daughter. We have had a rule about only eating in the kitchen for some time now, but he was always in trouble with "illegal" food. I have actually written a post about a huge cockroach (that I suspect really flew in from the outside) terrorizing and trapping him in his room. It was the best thing as he was reformed overnight.

Kat from California said...

I hate to admit this but my daughter, at 12 isn't reformed yet. She did have bugs in her room at one time and I warn her now of them when she brings food and leaves it in her room. I have to be after her all the time about stuff like that. I think of pigpen when I think of her too. I mean a room can be clean and after 10 min she has made a mess. Like you said..a work in progress. You would think by now I'd be more proficient than this. We try rewards, taking a priviledge away, etc.