Monday, March 27, 2006

Confessions of a Recovering Neatnik

Before we had kids, I was a bit of a clean freak. It wasn't an obsession, but usually we just had to deal with clutter--the little piles that were moved from place to place when we had guests.

The newspaper was read on the day it was delivered and then added to the recycling bin. Books were on the bookshelves. Dog hair was vacuumed from the furniture that Argus wasn't supposed to be sleeping on. Clothes were (usually) put away. Floors were visible. Sofa cushions could be found on TOP of the sofa. Counters weren't sticky. And I'm pretty sure that the mirrors had never been licked before. You probably see where I'm going with this.

It has taken me almost four years, but my standards have been, shall we say, relaxed a bit. There is still a loose system of toy storage, but just last week I heard someone who sounded a lot like me tell Hannah that, as long as I could see the floor, I didn't care where she put the toys.

The biggest mistake I ever made with her was to say "That's ok, peanut, Mommy will clean up the toys." Sadly, she has a leak-proof memory and parrots it back to me on a regular basis.

"Hannah, Daddy will be home soon. It's time to clean up the playroom."

(two minutes later)
"Hannah? Did you hear me?"

(five more minutes)
"Hannah, where are you?!"

(I'd insert ticking, but digital clocks don't)
"HANNAH! PLEASE clean up your toys. Mommy will help."

"That's ok, Mommy. You do it."
(I'm guessing that she is getting increasingly frustrated at my inability to grasp this simple fact.)

Sometimes I think she tricks me into putting her toys into time out so that there are fewer to clean up later. Once she looked right at me, hit Argus and then handed me the toy with the request that I put it in time out. She and the toy went to their separate time outs. The toy is still there.

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