Wash Me Clean

Today was cleaning day.  Oldest spent the night with her best friend, so Youngest and I were left to tidy up on our own.  We hold no animosity about it; we have fun cleaning.  The best part is since it’s just Youngest and I there’s no sibling bickering to listen to.  We work together so well!  Youngest is a brilliant helper.  We cleaned the toilets and tubs, counters and floors.  We sorted the laundry then washed, dried and folded.

I honestly don’t know what I would do without Youngest.  Cleaning can be such a major task for me, she helps me so I don’t get sore as quickly as I would had I been doing it all on my own.  She takes to each task with such enthusiasm that I almost forget how yucky I feel.  She’s always eager to try the next new thing with me.

I watched her refill the soap dispenser with such close focus.  She truly devoted herself to the task.  Her eyebrows squished together, her tongue rested on her upper lip as she measured the soap.  Nothing else was in her mind at that moment except squeezing the perfect amount of soap.  She finished with excellent precision, then wiped down the cap.  “What’s next Mommy?”

To her this ‘cleaning like a grown up’ using chemicals and sponges is a wonderful privilege.  Only big, responsible kids get to participate.  I’m a firm believer that kids will do anything you need them to – the key is how it’s presented.

For example, cleaning the toilets is a huge privilege.  It’s a reward because not only do you get to use the cool blue clinging liquid on the inside rim, but you then get to use the cool long handled scrub brush.  The best part you ask?  The part the kiddos fight over completing?  Pushing the button on the toilet cleaning gel.

toiletcleaninggel_graphicIt makes me giggle thinking about it.  I’m so smart to have not made these things chores.  I can only hope that the tasks remain as thrilling for them as they get older.

Oh!  The only other thing I’ve done to keep them motivated: I resist the urge to correct them.  I give them responsibilities I know they can handle, explain how to do the task, then I let them do it.  If I have to adjust something I wait until they’re in bed.    When I was a kid, my Mom would give me a chore then tell me what I’d missed and how I could’ve done it better.  It really made me want to stick my head in the toilet rather than clean it.  Plus I developed an “I can’t do anything right” attitude.  Now that I’m the Mom I try to recognize where my kids are developmentally and make sure their self esteem stays intact.

Tomorrow I hope to vacuum, dust and mop.  After that’s done my house will be totally fresh.  I want everything to be as tidy as possible before the surgery on Monday.  To me it’s torturous to come home to a messy house and be too weak and sore to do anything about it.  It may seem silly to some, but the dirty features will torment me until I will risk tearing a stitch to wipe off the TV screen.  Hah!

If I don’t complete everything on my list, no worries.  Husband has assured me that he’ll help keep things in order while I’m recuperating.  My family is awesome.

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~ by blanketgirl on April 18, 2009.

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