Friday, March 13, 2009

Disorderly Conduct

We learn something knew about our kids every day. Sometimes, it can be little things, like a new giggle or the sudden ability to say please without being prompted. Last week, I learned my daughter has criminal tendencies. This week, I learned she is a slob.

Every evening, we make sure the playroom is cleaned up, with most of the toys put away so that no one trips when they walk through it the next day. This process usually involves a lot of cajoling Sammy to put things away by asking him why he doesn’t put something up after he’s done using it. Not that I expect a logical answer from a 4 year old, but I’m trying to get that if-then clean up concept into his subconscious because I am not picking up his dirty socks when he’s 16. (Pause for laughter from all the moms of teenagers out there.)

It seems we have been focusing on the wrong child. While Sammy was at school one morning, and therefore incapable to taking any toy out (unless he’s developed a telekinetic ability, but I’m probably just watching too much Heroes), I was working out while keeping one eye on Sabrina. As she randomly crawled around the room dumping bins, sweeping out cabinets, and removing every book from every shelf. She was a tiny cyclone, inflicting as much material damage as she could from her all-fours position. I’m sure she was thinking that if she were just a little bit taller, she could cause so much more mayhem. When she caught sight of me watching (probably with hands on hips, stern look in place, requisite oh-boy-you’re-in-trouble stance), she just flashed he dimples and her two bottom teeth, all forget it, Lady, my cuteness is too powerful for your discipline. Touché, my dear, touché.

Some experts say that you can start to teach a child this young how to help out, put toys away, but that will come in due time. For now, I’ll just have to sigh and mutter under my breath about Martha Stewart boot camp for toddlers while I try to restore order. And she follow right behind me with round two.

If this is any indication of HER at 16, we’ll have to call in a hazmat team to clean her room.

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