Monday, May 7, 2012

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy

The kids and I had a wonderful three day weekend (thanks to the lack of snow this winter) of purging and problem solving.  We just can't stop smiling we're so happy about it.*

I haven't been very good about keeping on top of the kids and their chores.  They noticed.  Things have gone downhill around here.  So this weekend was used to get things back on track. 

We problem solved. 

Problem Number 1:
The children and I have very different definitions of common phrases.  For example, I understand the command, "Make your bed." to mean pull all sheets and blankets up tight, tuck in the long sides, arrange pillows and stuffed animals and throw blankets neatly on the bed.  They believe that it means yank the top blanket up over the ball of sheets underneath, pay no attention to the pillows, and leave everything that was kicked off the bed during the night where it lay.  I always thought that "tidy your room" included picking up anything that is on the floor and put it away.  They seem to think it means pick up one thing and put it somewhere else.  If someone told me to put my clean clothes away, I would gently place the neatly folded clothes in the proper drawers.  They find it to mean violently shove clothes into already overflowing drawers, leaving the drawers open for excess to spill out.

The solution:
The kids had a refresher course on what my definitions are.  Their rooms (and dressers) were completely cleaned out.  I showed them what a made bed looks like, and we got rid of anything that didn't have a "home" in the room.  From now on, they don't leave for school until their rooms pass inspection. 
Happy kids making Turken's bed.

Happy Phoenix folding and purging the clothes from his dresser.

Problem Number 2:
Library books.  All over my house and van.  Distracting my children from things they should be doing, like chores, homework, or playing outside.  Racking up lots of fines because the children don't collect them all on library day and magically find a stack four days after they are due.

The solution:
A library box and a home librarian.  The kids are still allowed to check out as many books as they like from the library, but when they get home the books go into a plastic tote.  One child is the librarian for the three weeks before the books are due.  Each child is allowed one book at a time.  If he wants a new one, he must go through the librarian.  The librarian is also in charge of reminding me three days before the books are due, in order to give me notice to fit a library run into our schedule.

Happy Star getting a book from Happy Librarian Buttercup

Problem Number 3:
Back when the kids were younger, we put a soccer box on the landing.  All shin guards, uniforms, and socks were kept there.  It worked very well for many years.  But then they started playing travel, which came with practice uniforms.  And the kids grew, so lots more uniforms, socks, and shin guards accumulated in the box.  Each and every day, at least one child has practice.  Each and every day at least one child digs through the soccer box to find the right size, matching socks, and his own shin guards.  And when I say dig, I mean like a dog, throwing everything that isn't what he's looking for somewhere behind him.  And because they are children, they left those discarded items where they landed.  Each and every day.  Each and every child.

The solution.
No more community soccer box.  I folded each and every shirt and pair of shorts, I matched all of the socks.  Each of the kids took three of the uniforms that were the right size, including socks and shin guards.  I wrote their initials on each piece, and they put their three uniforms in their newly organized dressers.  The rest went into the basement with the outgrown cleats to wait for the day that they are needed again.   Every Saturday morning, the newly assigned laundry boy will wash all of the uniforms and distribute them to their rightful owners.

Happy Giant putting his uniforms away.

Happy Phoenix getting the laundry together.
Happiness is checking something off a to-do list, especially when that something is a fabulously organized kids' bedroom.  Only makes me want to check off some more.  I'm sure the kids will be just as happy as I am to get Phase Two of Operation Get This House Under Control under way.

*Yeah, I lied.  The kids certainly are not happy about it.  But I certainly appreciate their cheesing it up for me in the photos.      

Have a lovely, happy day!


  1. Oh my gosh, your kids are all so cute. Seriously, they look like the nicest, happiest kids.

  2. Well, thank you, Suzie. I have to agree!

  3. Love it! So true...I have to use catch phrases like "company clean the living room" and, when they clean their rooms I have to use "Mom's definition of clean, not yours". I love checking things off my to-do list too!

  4. Michelle, my kids know all about "company clean" So far, the rooms are still nice and tidy. I find myself going into their rooms just to sigh and by calmed by a room completely in order.


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