Thursday, December 6, 2007

"Go clean your room"= Instant Hysteria

Yesterday, Sam asked if he could invite a friend over. I said, " Don't you think you and your friend would be embarrassed to play in such a messy room? Why don't you clean your room today and invite someone over to play tomorrow." So he started the job, and it was a big job, and then after 15 minutes he asked for a break that lasted until bed time and then it was really urgent that he get back to his cleaning job. That was a NO GO.
Fast forward to today. I told him right after school that he had to do his homework and then finish cleaning his room. He begged me to help him. I told him no, I didn't help make the mess so I wasn't going to help clean it up. Then we worked on his homework. When that was done he said he wanted to watch TV. I told him he needed to clean his room first. "Will you help me?" "No."
He stalled for about ten minutes. And then I said if you don't clean your room you can't go play at the rec center. Instant Hysterics commenced. And again he said," will you help me". I said,
"Yes, I will help you learn that cleaning up a big mess is hard work, and so you shouldn't make big messes. I will help you learn this by letting you clean up the mess by yourself."
How a perfectly pleasant and happy child becomes such a wreck in a split second is beyond me. He went up and got to work and about ten minutes later he asked if I would tell him what to do. So I told him to pick up all the dirty clothes and put them in the hamper. A few minutes later he came back and said, "Done... now what." "OK, pick up all the transformers", etc.
I can't help but think that I deserve this. As a young child I shared a room with two sisters. Our room was atrociously filthy. The room was knee deep with junk. We didn't have a light switch and so our lamp was turned on and off with a pull chain. Our room was such a mess that my dad attached a 7 foot chain to the lamp, which hung around the middle of the room, so that he wouldn't have to walk in to turn off the light for us. He attached the end of the chain to the wall by the doorway. Needless to say we didn't get tucked in because it was such a mess.
One day during the summer my mom had had enough. She told us we couldn't go swimming until we cleaned up our room. So we went up and looked at the mess and tried to figure out a way that we could go swimming THAT day, if we had honestly tried to clean it up, it would have taken several days. We lived in an apartment attached to a motel that my parents managed. In our room there was no closet, instead there was one of those nifty shelf/hanger bars with the hangers permanently attached - like you'd find in a motel. So we decided to stack all the stuff up between the floor and that rack. Turns out it went all the way up to the ceiling. This pile of junk had a 5'x7' girth and the ceiling was probably 8 feet high. Then, because it would be way to obvious that we didn't really clean when she saw the pile we wedged a sheet between the pile and the ceiling to hide it. Like that's not obvious. Then we called my mom up for inspection..... AND SHE FELL FOR IT! I couldn't believe our luck. She looked right at the sheet and said, "OK, you can go swimming now." Wow! We were the smartest kids in America. And she must have been the most worn down mother in America.


Matthew Johnson said...

That is funny!!!! What's funnier is, there is an even larger stack of crap in our attic, with an even larger girth..........old habits die hard I guess..... :)


Julie J. said...

Very funny, Matt. When my mom read this blog entry, right in front of me, she said,"You poor little Urchins -and that's exactly what you looked like." Thanks mom!

Kim said...

I completely understand every side to that story. I have children who can go from Dr. Jekyll to Mr. Hyde in 2 seconds flat. I also had a filthy room growing up and I remember hiding piles to make it look like it was clean. And unfortunately I have done exactly what your mom did so many times that I think my kids think I must be stupid. Every once in a while when I show them how smart I really am, they seem shocked.

Holley, Dane Brien & Wesley Berry said...

That is so funny! I can completely relate. I too was kind of sloppy as a kid and my sloppy karma is coming back to bite me big time. My 17 year old son can also be reduced to hysterics if asked to clean his room. I need to remember that line "I will teach you not to make big messes, by allowing you to clean it up yourself" Ms. Orange Oracle your wisdom astounds me. AWESOME!

Juliew8 said...

Julie, that brings back memories of my teenage years when I would hide the clothes I didn't want to put away between my mattress and boxspring. I too have children that are reduced to hysterics when asked to clean up, I'm glad to know I'm not the only one out there.

acote2 said...

haha. Sounds like a typical child. I had a walk in closet that I liked to hide everything in. After awhile mom caught on. Then i used the space under my beds. mom caught on to that too!! After that there was no where to hide. I HAD to clean my room!! It's funny that we will spend 30 minutes hiding stuff when it would probably only take that long to try and clean it up!! :)