Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fighting Another Losing Battle

(I haven't forgotten that I have not yet told the story of Child #5, but I keep wasting my time fighting losing battles instead of blogging ;-).  I'll get there eventually!)

Would you like to hear about my day?  Oh good!  I even took pictures!  I really needed wanted to clean Marie and Joseph's room, and the only way I was going to get that done was to do it when Husband was home, so I took some powerful medication put on my big girl p@nties and did it today!  I got my supplies together and told the children that they were not allowed down the hall until I was completely finished.  (You might wonder why I would not force encourage the children to help clean up the mess, since they were the ones responsible for making it and then I would know that you are either crazy or do not possess a large number of children of your own.  I have found that if I let them "help" I can't throw away as many things as I would like, once it gets to the point of squalor pictured below, it is necessary for me to do a serious overhaul of the room, and I don't kill anyone work much more efficiently if I just do it myself.  I spend a LARGE amount of time each day threatening forcing encouraging people to clean up after themselves, but sometimes I need to be able to take the easy road of just doing it myself, and this was one of those times.)
The Supplies
 1.  Box fan--I get grumpy when I'm cleaning up the HUGE messes people have made by ignoring the simple, easy, logical rule to PUT SOMETHING AWAY BEFORE YOU GET SOMETHING ELSE OUT I get hot
2.  Black garbage bag--so people can't see what I am throwing away and have loud, dramatic hysterics on my way to the outside trash can because it's the biggest garbage bag I've got
3.  Pink donation sack--for donating the things I'm tired of picking up OVER AND OVER AND OVER again the children have outgrown
4.  Cleaning wipes and disinfecting wipes--for the dirt and germs I'm sure to find in case I come across something dusty or dirty
5.  Music player*--to drown out the sound of the children's worried voices asking me what I'm doing in there/throwing away give me something fun to listen to while I'm cleaning and cleaning and cleaning
6.  Ear muffs--in case I can still hear the children's pleading voices over the music I'm having trouble focusing on the task at hand
7.  Water bottle--so I don't have to leave the area of the house that the children have been forbidden to enter until I am finished because they will surely talk to me and hang on my leg begging for mercy for their belongings if I come near them can stay hydrated on this hot day
8.  Basket--HAHAHAHAHAHA!  I started with ONE basket!  I ended up with TWO baskets AND two large, round containers for things that the children need to put away/don't belong in the room I am cleaning

*A wide variety of songs to keep my mind off of how irritating it is to spend so much time cleaning a mess that I DID NOT MAKE, and, indeed, took reasonable measures to PREVENT me occupied

I'm sure that "screen capture" does not mean "take a picture of the screen with your camera", but I didn't have time to figure it out, since my moments of being able to hear myself think are NUMBERED, and I'd like to finish this post =).  So, moving on....

Someone very kindly left me a trail leading to the mess, just in case I should happen to forget in which room it was located. 

The squalor, picture 1

The squalor, picture 2

The squalor, picture 3

Fearing for the lives of her stuffed animals, Marie did a nice job of cleaning and organizing her bed.

Joseph also did a nice job on his bed.
These are the things I found under Marie's dresser.  Her SHOES were the only things that actually BELONGED there.  "Doing My Best", you say, "Why are there snow boots in that pile when it is the 4th of July?"  I'm SO GLAD you asked!  The answer would be that some people at my house are CONVINCED that it is going to snow AT ANY MOMENT!  And we must be prepared AT ALL TIMES even when it is 90 degrees for this magnificent occurrence!

The pile, minus the shoes
Ironically, I made an order at The Children's Place before I started cleaning this morning (I didn't dare wait until after I cleaned because I suspected the cleaning would take HOURS was afraid they might sell out of some of the things I wanted).  What prompted this order was Marie being unable to find any tights without giant holes in them for church yesterday.  Although I was CERTAIN I had bought more tights than she was finding, she INSISTED there were NO MORE.  I found 2 pairs of tights while I was cleaning today.

This is what it looked like FOUR HOURS after I started...

...so I decided that reinforcements would be necessary. 
(The reinforcements did not provide as much help or encouragement as I thought they would;  nevertheless, I DID NOT GIVE UP!)
 After another HOUR AND A HALF:
The left-overs
1.  Pink donation sack full of donations
2-3.  Two round containers of things that didn't belong in this room/I haven't seen anyone play with for a while
4.  Black garbage bag filled with crap from the dentist/ChuckECheese/kids' meals, paper airplanes, pictures, wrappers, broken toys garbage
5-6.  A laundry basket for Marie, and one for Joseph, filled with things that they are going to have to "buy" back from me (they will have to earn family dollars by doing chores or schoolwork) to pay me for some of the time I spent cleaning their room;  the things in the baskets are things (like clothes or books) they could have put away even though their room was a nightmare
The finished miracle product after FIVE AND A HALF HOURS of cleaning and organizing

One of the reasons I get SO FRUSTRATED with the mess is because there are boxes for everything and EVERY BOX IS LABELLED!  THIS IS NOT ROCKET SCIENCE, CHILDREN!

I left the BEAUTIFUL, ORGANIZED, CLEAN bedroom, trying to convince myself that I did, indeed, have to allow the children back in their bedroom someday soon, and this was the sight that greeted me in the family room:

In an unexpected, yet heartwarming, show of support, Mother Nature provided us with an impressive display of her feelings concerning the manner in which I spent my valuable time today, as all Hell let loose hail came down with the strong winds and pouring rain:
I didn't manage to capture the fury of the storm (or any pictures of the hail), but believe me when I say:  there is not supposed to be a river on the lawn, and it was blowing/raining so hard that the power went out for a couple hours.

I was quite worried for my poor, scrawny tree because the wind was blowing SO HARD, and in the wrong direction!  (99% of the time, the wind blows from the other direction)
Poor Joseph ended the day by tackling jumping on mauling hurting his sister, so he was sentenced to go to bed early instead of going to see the fireworks with the others.  Sigh.  Another strong-willed, defiant child with an unhealthy lack of impulse-control.  And the psychologist said that boys get a spike in testosterone around the age of 5 that makes all of this worse.  OH GOOD!


Mrs. Irritation said...

Your consistent use of earmuffs amuses me. I'm new here, so forgive me if you've discussed it before, but can you elaborate how earmuffs have become a constant in your house?

Doing My Best said...

Mrs. Irritation--Ian was bothered (and by "bothered", I mean: became very overwhelmed/irritable which often led to him behaving badly) by loud noises (fireworks, vacuum cleaner, mixer, noise in restaurants, etc.) from the time he was very young. Somehow we thought to try earmuffs for him in those situations, and it worked! He was able to handle loud situations MUCH BETTER after that. As our other children have come along, many of them have been bothered by loud noises also, so we've ended up with a pair of earmuffs for each child (we have a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to storing earmuffs for quick access). I grind wheat flour for baking, and the grinder is JET-ENGINE LOUD, so we use earmuffs then too. And I discovered one desperate night, that the earmuffs also work VERY WELL for dampening the noise of enthusiastic, energetic children =). (They are also EXCELLENT for long car trips if you are a passenger trapped in the car with any number of children!)
There you have it: my history with earmuffs =).

josefinalouise said...

Oh, this hit close to home! I have to do that room chore sooner rather than later. I completely agree that, after a certain point, it is easier to do it oneself. I usually make my boys watch, though. They have to sit in the hall and watch me work. They have to run things to the garbage can if I say so. However, I just started that policy in the last couple years; before that, I would just wait until they were gone for the day and THROW AWAY as much as I could in that time! Know what? They never even noticed things were missing.

We, too, have the situation with LITERALLY a place for EVERY SINGLE THING. BUT YET--on the floor is where it is found. Incidentally, along with the labels I carefully made for each bin and drawer. WHY LEAVE THEM ON WHEN YOU CAN PEEL THEM OFF?! So frustrating.