Sunday, April 25, 2010

Whistle while you work

Thing 1 came to me this afternoon and announced that the downstairs bathroom is dirty and she wants to help me clean it. Now, I am not a stellar housekeeper by anyone's stretch of the imagination, but my parents stayed with us this on Friday so I know I cleaned the bathroom the middle of last week. Hearing it's dirty enough to get her attention is, well, news.

It's good news in that maybe Thing 1 is somehow developing a cleanliness factor that exceeds my own, and at least one person in this house may be something of a help in keeping the place clean. Maybe she'll actually notice the messes before they fall down on top of her, AND BE WILLING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT beyond just commenting in an effort to get ME to do something about it.

The bad news is that apparently my cleanliness radar is so out of whack that it seems my 8 year old is grossed out by it. So I went with her to assess the situation.

Also, I would be a total idiot to pass up the opportunity to have help, and to reinforce my daughter's inclination to clean something.

Again, reemphasizing my own lack of deep rooted Southern Girl cleaning compulsion, I freely acknowledge that at nearly any moment, any room in my house could use quite a bit of attention. Upon checking it out I found the bathroom could use some work, but it wasn't disgusting, by any means.

I started her cleaning up what she found most objectionable about the bathroom, the watermarks on the cabinets. Then, as there's not a lot of room in the bathroom for two of us to be in there, I moved into the kitchen next door to clean the kitchen sink (again not on my agenda, but it could always use it and it would keep me near if she needed support). She kept calling out what a good job she was doing to me, and I assured her repeatedly that she's such a help to me. And she obviously is, who knows how many more years before I took the time to clean up the water/toothpaste lines from the cabinet faces? She kept going on from the cabinet under the sink, and scrubbed all of them clean. Then she told me she was going to take a lunch break. I asked if she wanted a sandwich, but no, lunch break to her means she has wandered back to the TV, where she joined her father and sister in watching Cartoon Network.

I lost her to the TV. Hubby isn't feeling well, and has been burning the Menorah at all ends again, so he's sleeping on the couch with Thing 2, and now Thing 1, perched on top of him watching cartoons.

Do I enforce the cleaning agenda? Do I make her come finish what she started? Is this a delicate, tenuous inclination that will easily dissolve if I make her leave something she's enjoying to finish it? Will she learn that cleaning's an unpleasant chore? Am I delusional to think she won't realize that someday anyway? Or should I make both kids buckle under, give them more than their usual little chores around the house and enforce a more strident chore schedule? Hubby and I talk about it all the time, but we don't really do it. Mind you, they're joining HIM as he's relaxing on the couch...

It wasn't on my agenda, and I hadn't noticed that the bathroom was that dirty. But now that she's brought my attention to it, I am inclined to add that to my list of things to do.

I'd be done already if I hadn't sat down to write about it.

1 comment:

  1. work chart, for 5 minutes a day, will keep your bathroom mirror clean, hopefully she'll move to the bowl someday. But just about anyone will do anything for 5 minutes if they get a star on a chart.

    Have her sing, "Happy Birthday, to Me," twice as she cleans. a little goes a long way.

    And, BTW, your house is not dirty. Quit berrating yourself.


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