Thursday, March 12, 2009

Tidying with todlers...

It has happened again. It happens all the time. My living room has degenerated into chaos. I don't understand how it happens and how it happens so quickly, because when I put myself to it, it barely takes an hour to make it go from chaos to splendour again. So I should be able with a minute here and there to keep it into a fairly tidy state, right? Wrong.

I wish I could blame Mr. Chaos aka my beloved son completely. But this cycle did not start when he was born. I am an expert at tidying and tidying swiftly. It helps that we chose not to have too much stuff. What does not help is my procrastination habit, or the fact that sometimes it is more important to grab someone from a table before he swings from the chandelier than to put away papers where they belong. What also does not help of course is Joseph's tendency to spread stuff around. We are working on putting things away before we go to another activity, but it is an ungoing battle. Especially if he is expected to keep himself busy for a few minutes while I tidy, or chop vegetables, or anything of that

Today we actually had a fairly epic battle over a spoon. If he is expected to learn one thing, it is the fact that food items like bowls and plates an utensils remain on the table. They do not belong on the floor or anywhere else. This rule is to prevent Joseph from running around the house with a bowl of dripping cornflakes, or slosh spaghetti sauce over everything.
Joseph wanted to see duck. And mommy made him put the spoon on the table before he could see duck. You would think I was torturing him. Fullfledged todler tantrum, crying, sitting down on the floor and everything. Still, mommy was very hard of heart. Now I didn't mind explaining it sixteen times, showing him what to do four or five times, but there was no way that duck would come on the computer before the spoon was put on the table by Joseph. It took some time, some ignoring, and being busy with something else, before the spoon finally went on the table. But it did go there. One for mommy!

Still, despite the battle, we have made great progress in tidying and cleaning. Joseph has a small spray bottle with water and a paper towel of his own to clean alongside. His attention span of course is not very long, but as long as he wants to help, I will greatly encourage it. His favorite 'chore' is manning the dustbuster. The vacume on the other hand seems to be scaring him.
I have learned that cleaning and tidying is best done in small installments, with lots of attention to Joseph in between. Not as fun as working well for a full hour and having it all done, but in compensation, it is pretty cute to see him using the swiffer.


Karen said...

How beautiful! Aren't children just the most amazing gift?!!? Our little Savannah loves to help Mama clean, Sam on the other hand....sometimes I believe he follows behind me surreptitiously undoing everything I've done.

But only for such a short while!

Shannon said...

LOL! I thought just like you when there was one or, my approach has changed "Thank God you're eating-and if you leave a trail of milk behind either wipe it up, or ask your brother or sister to wipe it up" I admire your tenacity!