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?