Thursday, October 28, 2010


Today, The Boy went off with Mum to visit a friend up in Wexford. This family has a 3-year old (born close to The Boy, I believe) and a pregnant Mommy, so The Wife heads up there every once in a while to entertain children so that Mommy can have some rest. That left me at home with Younger Bro, who petered out - as he is wont to do - around 10 o'clock, leaving me with household work to do.

How did my mother get any housework done with four boys running insanely around the house? I don't get it. With an infant, an 11-year old, an 8-year old, and a 7-year old running around... well, actually, that probably describes it. One infant is not that much to handle, particularly since I've always been a napper and was never a particularly busy child. (My boys have inherited my ability to entertain myself, even though I am an attention whore.) I wonder what the shape of the household was like when my oldest three brothers were 5, 2, and 1.

I know that putting toys away is a fairly useless endeavor. No matter how well you organize the puzzles, the crayons, the markers, the game pieces, and the balls, they will resume their skirmish positions around the room in short order. And, when you start to put toys away with children around, those toys become magnetically attractive to both boys. We do what we must do, as often as possible, and it dents the mess somewhat.

We have not started with the putting-toys-away thing, the clean-up time, with the boys yet. It's something that comes to mind fairly often. I'm not entirely sure how to proceed with something like that, but I'm reasonably certain that "Do you want The Boy to put those toys away, or Daddy? And, if Daddy does it, the toys won't be there tomorrow!" will work. Maybe that's an after-dinner thing. I'll talk it over with The Wife. Granted, we'll have to re-organize how we store toys in the living room at home - right now there are three tiny plastic bins and a large pile of toys under a spare piano bench (don't ask) instead of a toy chest or shelves or shelves of bins, like in their room.

Giving a thorough cleaning to, say, bathroom and kitchen isn't as much of an issue. It's generally done when one child is napping and the other is being chased by another person. But, if the children are demanding attention, that can be difficult or impossible.

What do you do, to help your children clean up after themselves and/or get a reasonable room, or is it a not-worth-it battle?


Johanna S said...

What do I do? Both of the things you mentioned. I tell her if I do it they go up high. Other days, like today, when I am not feeling well, I just don't give a crap! I just wanted to not hear one more 'why'! Never mind toys! If I get serious and consistent about it, she will clean up because she knows I really will put them up high. Of course, it's hard to put everything up high. My husband was trying to figure what type of an organization system we could start using to make the scattered toys/messy living room issue go away. He was thinking cubbies/book shelves, trying to replicate what the Montessori school does. Sounds cute and great, but can we really pull it off? I'm not sure yet. There are too many toys, me thinks. We were tempted to turn our TV stand into her toy shelf! We'll see! All I know is last night we both stepped on her "Spill the Beans"! Somehow, it didn't wake her up and we didn't break anything! Good luck, whatever you do! And, if you come up with something really clever that works, please do share!

Jennifer said...

I have (had) to teach my 3yo how to clean up. I started with having her help me and me showing where the toys go. We sing a clean up song. She is watched by Gma during the day and has to clean up all her toys in the living room before nap. If she doesnt they get locked in our office. There are still toys everywhere a lot of times and she doesn't always put them where they go. I know it could be worse. Telling her we are going to vacuum works. She's afraid the vacuum will get them. LOL

We still clean for her often or just let It go too. She's getting better.

Jennifer said...

Oh and saying you can't do such and such unless the toys are picked up works sometimes. Not sure if all this will work with younger bro though.