The Wrong Side of the Bed
School has been out for eighteen days now and my daughter (the younger) has not cleaned up the right side of her bed, –not to mention the closet. I suspect children are born defiant, because it is not as if she is not willing to do other work. Just yesterday I had to tell her to stop dusting. I grew tired of smelling dusting spray. And the day before she woke me up about 5:30 in the morning and asked which compartment on the washing machine takes bleach and how would she know if she poured enough or too much. She has never done laundry on her own, but, because I was sleeping and she wanted to do it, she figured it out, except when she got to the white clothes she did not know where and how much bleach to use, –or not use. I woke up enough to tell her that she was not to touch the bleach EVER.
There is a daily chore list posted. She has one chore a day. However, she does not do those chores without needling, and, they are much easier than what she elects to do.
“Why can’t she just do what I tell her to do when I tell her to do it!” At first I got caught up in the unfairness and the difficulty of successful parenting (it takes so much effort, I whined). I believe to be successful, one must be willing to follow through. Yes, the hardest part of parenting is following through. Don’t believe me, ask yourself how many times have you had to tell a child, or a parent/guardian had to tell you when you were a child, to do something. That’s why my parents were lousy housekeepers. Neither of them had the tenacity to follow, remind, and/or enforce their children to do whatever chore that child was told to do. Not consistently, anyway. They let the house stay a mess and when/if they could not tolerate a mess they pushed it off on the child(ren) who would fight them the least.
I’ve known other children who lived in clean houses whose parents would stand over them and ask, “Or you going to leave that there?” A few minutes later, “Or you going to leave that there?” Then again, “Don’t forget not to leave that there?” A few days later, “I’m waiting for you to take care of that thing that you left where I told you not to leave it.” “Mom can I…..?” “No, not until you ……………….”
Of course a parent cannot be robotic, passive or tyrannical about it. You must know how to say it. When to say it. How to change the inflection each time you repeat the same words. Because, I am convinced that children are born defiant! Defiant, I tell you! But that is the rub, finding exactly how to work with the child you got. Hence, right now I think I am being outsmarted.
It would take no time to pick the stuff off the floor, go through the closet, throw stuff away, and put the new coverlet (that she stole from me) on her bed, oh, and hang up those pants that have been hanging over the foot board for at least a month. But no! Somewhere along the way, I asked wrong. Because the child is determined not to clean that side of the bed up and instead do anything else. How can you fuss at a child that is willing to do so much? I feel like we are in a game of chess and she is zooming in on my Queen.
1. Fake plastic donut (There is a container for all toy food)
2. Loose crayons (there is a container for all crayons)
3. Guitar. (She needs to take the guitar and put it by the front door so we can remember to take it and get a string fixed)
4. The contents of her backpack from the last day of school
5. One loose crayon (see #2)
6. A microscope that she had to have for Christmas. It needs to be taken out of the box and put on her desk.
7. The Slip-n-Slide that she got for her birthday, she needs to be put on a closet shelf.
8. More papers from her backpack (see #4)
9. Whiteboard. Needs to be put back on the wall in her study area.
10. Needs to hang up pants
11. Needs to put coverlet on bed.
12. Needs to put up her Hello Kitty (it was birthday present, I would not buy my daughter anything Hello Kitty) wallet/billfold
13. An old yellow balloon
14. An old red balloon