Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Battle of Everyday

Everyday - everyday - I have to participate in a battle. I fight with Abby about her cleaning her own room. I send her in there to simply make her bed and pick up the Polly Pockets. 20 minutes later, I go to check on her progress, and see baby dolls and dress-up clothes all over the room. I get angry at her, tell her to clean the mess right now, and suggest she doesn't get out any more toys until she's cleaned up what she's done playing with. 20 more minutes pass, and I check on her once again. This time there are little bits of paper all over the room, and water drops everywhere. The bed is not made, the Pollys are still out, the dolls are out, the clothes are out. What else can I do but enter into yet another war with Abby, during which I vow to throw away all her toys, sent Abby to a farm for messy kids, and leave her home for the day while the boys and I have tons of fun without her.

The thing is, I can't do any of those things. There is no farm for messy kids. I can't leave my 4 year old home alone all day (nor would I). And I also can't throw away all her toys. I'm too frugal. I couldn't just throw them away and simultaneously throw away all the money we spent on them. It would take too long for me to get rid of them, because I would have to list them all on Ebay. So, what threats can I really make that I'll follow through on?

So, right now she's being "punished" and she's supposed to be in her room cleaning. The problem is, she's actually in the living room playing trucks with Avery and fighting over a coloring book. I guess she's lost interest in all her own toys now that they're all out and in the middle of her floor.

We literally spend the entire morning fighting this battle, everyday. Why can't I just fight an easy (or easier) battle like The Battle of Gettysburg? At least that one eventually ended.


Anonymous said...

Your kids are jerks

Oh Joy! said...

I quit fighting that battle with Ellie. I took them. I took whatever toy she left on the floor in a garbage bag... and put them away. She has to earn them back. She'll tell you that I'm a mean mom... but her room is clean.

So she will eventually add them back... one at a time...

Tina in Thailand said...

I clearly remember being sent into my room and being told to "clean it up". But one look overwhelmed me, I did not know how to do it or where to start. And so began a long history of one of the messiest bedrooms in history. (Ask my husband, it was still messy when he met me!)
But with our kids, I helped them learn how to clean.
If the toys each have a specific destination, say a bin for the Polly Pockets, a tote for the stuffed animals and so on, then it is easier for the kids, since they already know where each thing goes, and they do not have to come up with a plan on their own.
That said, I too had a super stubborn daughter who would refuse to pick up her crayons. I think she was around four too. Just would dump them and leave them. Would. Not. Pick. Them. Up.
After a long battle and trying many things, we just had to find what was most effective for her. Turns out, she did not mind being sent to her room, and a spanking was not enough to convince her to obey, but having to stand in the corner and touch her nose to the wall until she would obey, that was the ticket.
And then later, I found that giving the girls (there were two by this time, a time limit to put the toys back in thier pre-determined locations/homes and whatever was left on the floor was going to disappear worked wonders.
Take heart! These struggles are natural, and you are still training your daughter and she is still learning that YOU are in the trainer, not the other way around. :)

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