Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Little Princess

I'm taking a moment to pay tribute to The Little 6 year old Princess in my house. Since my accident when it all came crashing down, my usually orderly and clean home *snicker, no, ROFL* has become somewhat chaotic. Okay, somewhat more chaotic. Well, today I decided enough was enough. I was going to whip the kids into action, and we were going to get the job done.

So I asked the Little Princess if she would rather clean up in the kitchen, the living room, or the dining room. She asked, "You mean just the floor in the kitchen, right?" Well, she's only 6..."Sure, just the floor...and maybe wipe down the table, too." She popped up and got to work.

Moving along, I asked Encyclopedia Brown to work on the living room. I know better than to give him options. He gets all worked up over the smallest decisions. I can see him 15 years from now..."Mom, I can't decide if I want the red Ranger or the blue F150. What if I change my mind next year? I just don't know! I mean, the Ranger would be better for fuel economy, but what if I need to haul something? Maybe I don't want a truck at all! How am I supposed to choose one when blah, blah, blah" (at some point I always tune him out, and sometimes *gasp* just walk away).

The Quiet One is even more difficult. A common problem among those with Sensory Processing Disorder is the idea that work is somewhat like vomiting. It's really disgusting, you should wait as long as you possibly can (the urge might pass), and if you just stay away from other people maybe it will never come up. So I usually try to break it down so it doesn't seem like so much. I told him to pick up and put away 5 out of place things in every room of the house. Later I made him fold his laundry and put it away. Even later, I gave him a rag and a spray bottle with some vinegar and let him wash the windows (this is almost like fun instead of work).

I went and tended to some other things, folded some laundry, hung some clothes on hangers (a chore that I often neglect because something else more urgent comes up), chucked out from under the bathroom sink some toiletry bottles that were mostly empty, etc. When I ventured back into the kitchen, that darling little girl had cleared, swept and mopped the floor; cleaned the table till it shined; cleared the counters of all the little odds and ends that had accumulated over the last week or so; washed the counters; washed the cabinets; and was still cheerily busying herself with whatever she saw needed to be done.

For her efforts, she got some Chick-fil-a nuggets and waffle fries that grandma brought, while the boys ate Ramen (I know it doesn't pass the usual conscientious mom's health test, but it stores well and when I haven't made it to the grocery store it's nice to have it to fall back on). Will I now expect this kind of effort from her at all times? Probably not. This was Little Princess's home run. She can't hit one every time. And the boys, well...Encyclopedia Brown cleaned about a quarter of the living room, and the Quiet One picked up his five things in about a third of the rooms in which he was asked to clean. Now EB sits in the living room reading a comic book, while Q mopes at the dining room table that I wouldn't give him the same reward for picking up a few extra things in the bathroom.

Where is the Little Princess? After lunch she commenced to singing in the kitchen where she still works, now washing the windows. She says she's moving on to the living room next, but I figure she will run out of steam soon. She has been at it for 4 hours now, not counting her lunch break. And while I have not accomplished nearly what I meant to, my knee has put its foot down (oh, come on, I couldn't resist) and I'm stuck in the chair again.

So, I'm signing off to light a fire under the boys. Maybe they'll turn a new leaf, or maybe we'll all go up in smoke. More likely, nothing will change significantly. Anyone have any suggestions?

PS Little Princess has moved on to the foyer instead.

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