The Girl: Moooooooooom! Come help me decide what video game to play. ME: Ugh! Why can’t you make up your own mind about this sort of stuff? TG: Well, if I play too scary of a game, I will be up all night. But, the other ones are boring. ME: Here. Try Max Payne. You get to be a hit man. TG: Like an assassin, eh? I’ve done that. ME: Pfft, like when? TG: *sinister, quiet whisper* Mister Man hired me. ME: 0_o
Here’s the Earth New Chore List. Re-established what was on the daily chores.
Everyday: Hygiene. Homework. Put away clean dishes (as needed).
Mondays: Trash and kitty litter
(cause it gets picked up on Tuesdays)
Tuesdays: Bring in the pails from the curb.
Wednesday: Free day.
Thursday: Laundry – washed and put away in closet and drawers.
Friday: If it is her Dad’s weekend with her, pack for that.
Saturday: Family housecleaning from noon until four or it’s done, whichever comes first.
To help with The Saturday Scrubbening, I have created a housecleaning checklist1 that we can use for each room as we go.
Lines of communication, re-established.
Mostly she is a great kid. But she is deep in the throes of teenagerdom.
Mister Man reminded me that we are in the very worst part of it, too. The beginning bits are always hardest as everyone works to adjust. I’m going to look on this as an opportunity for growth. For all of us.
I also need to keep in mind that she is stretching out, trying on new personalities. She is going to go through different personas as she figures out what and who she wants to be.
So, for now I just keep establishing the same boundaries as far as cleaning, attitude, and hygiene2 are concerned.
I will maintain low tones. And offer tasty treats as rewards.
1 -Damn, you might say. That is a sweet checklist. 2 –Which, as I said, I think will mostly take care of itself. Wanting to be pretty for others includes not smelling of feet.
This is going to be a bit stream of consciousness. I am on the exhausted side.
Y’see, I’ve been cleaning for the last five hours.
Oh, quit yer laughing. I got 2 (two!) rooms done. That’s it.
My family are pigs.
Most specifically, my darling daughter is a screaming slob.
I am so tired of the eye-rolling, deep in her personal fable, egocentric, poor pitiful sweetie, everybody1 always picks on me, Cindarella ..thing.2
I had hoped that by adopting an abridged and not nearly so neurotic Fly-Lady inspired schedule of cleaning, that keeping house wouldn’t be so difficult. That we wouldn’t have to do the all-day Saturday scrubkriegs of my youth.
I had further hoped that by mostly keeping my nose out of her room she would keep it…well, if not as clean as I’d like, at least not filthy.
Apparently, I was just flat wrong about that. Even my basic rule of No Eating/Drinking in there means nothing. I pulled out several cups, bowls, plates, and utensils out of her bedroom. There is some sort of organic…stuff?… on the bottom of her trash bin.
I can recall my parents telling me that “this isn’t a hotel, we aren’t your servants” when I was a kid. I also recall my room being neater, my attitude being less Woe Unto Me, and less generally unhygienic.
But mayhaps that is just the lens of long years clouding my hindsight.
I’ve tried bribery, firmness, marshmallow-y sweetness, boundary setting, grounding. What I have left is embarrassment.
I’ve gone into her room and taken several photos of the mess that it currently lives in. Also her bathroom. I had scrubbed it a week or so ago, and asked her to keep it clean(ish). You can bet I was more than a bit shocked to find it in the condition I did today.
I am going to post this one picture (of the bathroom) so that y’all have an idea of the order of magnitude of slop we are talking about.
I still have so much left to do.
But every time I move a piece of furniture or pick up something to clean under it3, I find piles of trash. Food wrappers. Dirty socks. Plates. Glasses with milk going sour in them. Clean clothes mixed in with dirty clothes.
All of this, on top of the Attitude that I get whenever I ask her to do something around the house has me full on furious.
Going to go blow up zombies for a bit. Drink some tea. Calm down.
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of it’s furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.
Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. –Rumi
1 – And by “everybody” she means anyone who asks her to do anything in this house. 2 – If you read that in this style, then I did it right. Or write, as the case may be. 3 – As you are *supposed* to do.