Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Cleaning House

I just bought this book Cleaning House: A Mom's 12-Month Experiment to Rid Her Home of Youth Entitlement by Kay Wills Wyma. I'm only on chapter 1 where she describes when the problem hit her. For Kay, it was when her 15 year old son wanted an awesome - and expensive - car when he turns 16 and expressed this out loud to her in a less than "this is my dream car" way. I personally don't see this as a problem. Everyone wants that awesome car right off the bat - for me it was a soft-top Jeep Wrangler, you know, to match my dad's Jeep Cherokee already in the driveway - and a few kids get their dream car either by hand-me down of the mid 80's Mustang, hard work to buy their own pickup truck or they have generous or indulgent parents (2 different things) but most are just happy to drive the family station wagon without Mom or Dad in the car. It's good to have a dream/goal and to be able to picture yourself there - it builds the imagination where, by that age, being able to analyze literature, science and math wins the gold star in school and there is precious little creative outlet. For the record, I did not like driving the minivan regardless that it was the only automatic transmission that we had and still don't like driving one that I bought as an adult (the catch is that it easily fits 3+ carseats). I'll take my husband's Jeep any day of the week.

So to diverge from all that car-speak, I thought I'd post about my cleaning pet peeves.

1. Dry Cereal - I know it sounds like a great snack but when the kids grab for it, I think "empty calories and future mess" and they think "I can take this ANYWHERE because it's just dry cereal so it doesn't make a mess!" It's banned in my house because I'm tired of cleaning up the stray pieces of cereal that fall on the floor and get stepped on - even cleaning with my way-cool lobby set (broom and dustpan on a stick).

2. Tiny Scraps of Paper - it's one of the reasons that I still keep scissors on top of the fridge. I know that my children are old enough and responsible enough to know not to cut the table cloth, their clothes, their sister's hair, etc but they leave a PigPen style mess when they use scissors on paper - little pieces of paper follow in their wake and leave an unmistakable trail to the glue sticks. I guess they just don't see all those itty-bit pieces of paper that they just cut off of their lovely projects but I did...They can't figure out why I make them sign a waiver that reads "I will pick up all the tiny scraps of paper and return the scissors to Mommy" before allowing them to use the scissors even for homework...

3. "Almost" Putting Things Away - this might be the one that sends me over the edge - they get something out of a bin and almost put the bin back. You see here an example: This is the paper bin (perhaps I went a little crazy at Staples' summer penny bin on loose leaf paper, packed it up when we were moving and didn't find it until October) and it sits like this most of the time, 1/2 pushed in and lilting to one side. It's next to my sewing box and no, I didn't leave it like that. It belongs in the cubbie behind it.

This weekend, I'll be taking on my 9 year old daughter's room with her. 7-10 is a tough age for keeping your room clean mostly because you're in-between little kid stuff and big kid stuff so you end up with both. This 9 year old has an active imagination (read: lots of stuffed animals that are integral to her imaginary life), is very artistic (read: has art supplies under her bed, projects both finished and in progress and scraps from previous projects the she'll "use on another project") and loves clothes (read: refuses to recycle clothes that are too small or have holes or very noticeable stains on them and has about 50 pairs of underwear, of which 1/2 are way too small, 1/4 are still too big, and 1/4 have holes or elastic pulling off. I'd try to weed them out when doing the laundry but she really only likes 4 pairs - wanna bet I can find 2 new packages of the same type so I can convince her to just toss the rest?).

What are your cleaning pet peeves?

eta: Here's a hat that I just finished last night and ironed (for better photographs) this morning. The pattern designer, Crochet by Jennifer, calls it the Fleurette Bonnet but I haven't decided what to names it when I list it later today. (it's overcast today - I couldn't make the room bright enough even with 3 photography lamps! sorry for the pink hue - photographers, I would appreciate any suggestions!)

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