Thursday, February 18, 2010

Training Boot Camp

Brenda here, reporting live from the bowels of hell the hallway outside of the girls' bedroom and playroom. I would like to be here telling you how a terrible storm hit our house and insurance will pay for it all but the truth is.....

we did it.

Well, the girls technically did it, but I helped. How? By not being consistent.

Our girls are pretty obedient. I'm mostly pleased with their behavior. They aren't too hard to correct and I certainly don't cringe about having to spend time with them. Do they need correcting sometimes? Absolutely. But overall....they are pretty swell children.

Except this one thing.

S called me on it last night. Oh he wasn't trying to make me feel bad but he just basically said look, they HAVE to start picking up after themselves better. It's past the point of ridiculous.

I quite agree.

So I asked him for two things:
1. to give us the rest of this week to get things picked up (you have to start off in a better state than we are now if we are going to maintain anything) and
2. to let me have next week for a training week.

It means going back to boot camp, much like we did when Little Bit was three. What that means is, I have to be in their vicinity 90% of the time for a few days. Keep them right by me. Make SURE they are obedient in putting their things away. After all, this is a new habit we are tying to form and it's going to take lots of reinforcement.

After that, periodic (several times a day) inspections will occur, with consequences or praise given afterward.

I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

See, I enjoy being home so much. It's still so fresh on my mind how I hated leaving them and how thankful I am for them to be home playing with their toys while I work on something in another room that I have been too lenient. I'll see a mess they made in another room, but they are so busy playing and getting along with each other that I hate to interrupt them every single time so the mess stays and I intend for them to go back later and do it but......


It's not been serving us well. Or our house. And Mama has been too soft so thankfully God made the daddies not so soft. The law has been laid down. I talked to the girls this morning. Not mad, not yelling. I explained to them that when Daddy works so hard to pay for our house and things that we have and then he comes home and sees things on the floor like you don't even care about it, it seems like you just might as well throw it away. They understood. They agreed.

And so I sit here at the intersection of chaos and confusion.....keeping them on task as they sort through the mess. One is on my left in the bedroom and one is on my right in the toy room. And we will keep going until we are done.

I did give them several small successes first thing this morning. I had them straighten up their shoe baskets (they keep their shoes in a crate in the floor of their closet), the library books, the mittens and scarves in the coat closet, the bathroom. You know, little areas.

Surely all those little areas will start to add up to orderliness soon. Right? Right?

Check in with me every now and then peeps. This mama could use some encouragement!


  1. This is the main reason I decided on the plastic tubs locked away in the closet and the locked treasure chest boxes in the boys room. I keep all the big toys out but keep all small pieces for that toy in a tupperware locked away. (I have to admit, I don't like clutter in their rooms, I want to see the floor and walk on it, not shuffle my feet like I'm in the ocean trying not to step on a crab)
    They clean their rooms every morning and I let them choose which toy they would like to play with then take it out for them and when they are done, they come to me and request another toy. They don't get that second toy until all of the first one is put away! So many of their toys have small numerous parts, the marble race game, polly pockets, barbie clothes and accessories, snap together car races, etc. etc.
    You've seen my kids closets with the locks on them. Some people think it odd, but it works for us and also helps things from getting stepped on and broken or lost and keeps them from getting bored with one toy, when it's put away, taking it out new is like a new toy! Once a month, we do a full sweep of the room for any stray parts and trash that may have collected behind the beds. It works well for us and we have tons of toys!

  2. Thanks for writing about this today What an encouragement to know that another mom is doing the same thing I'm doing today! :)

  3. I am right there with ya! And when Baby Bro starts crawling we are in for some big trouble around here, if I haven't already gotten them in better habits of picking up their junk!

  4. I'm w/ Giovanna, one tub at a time, cept they don't ask me for them, they just know. lol, even the toddler can pick up his tub o'stuff. Ofcourse, I have many children, so the example is set from the older ones.
    These are not chores, lol, just making room for fun! I do have one child that likes to sprawl out his fun, oh my, but he knows where they go when he is done.
    It is hard to interrupt when they are having such fun, I do agree! ;^)
    Smile, you are not alone, and they can do it!

  5. Oh, Sister, I hear ya! Praying for you and success.... It will come! Our God is a God of order and organization!!

    That said, I'm like you, in that, when the kids are playing, I don't like to disturb. But, unlike S, Ron doesn't care about neatness and tidiness as much as I do. In fact, he doesn't even notice when the house needs a major re-do. Sadly. No, really though, I still strive to provide a calm, peaceful, clutter-free home to which he can come home, and so around 4:30 or 5, we do a mad scramble to put things away. I do have them clean up throughout the day so we don't have a ton at the end of the day. And, I'm not afraid to throw away many small left over pieces of toys, games, legos, etc. They never miss them (and I don't toss crucial things, either.)

    Share what you find out that works. I can ALWAYS use more ideas! Good luck!

    (And, your opening line cracked me up! I've SO been there!!)

  6. It'll be worth the hassle! Yes, one area at a time will add up to a BIG difference. I recently finished our Great Purge and Cleaning of 2010 (not because I suddenly felt like becoming the Queen of Clean, but because we needed to get the house on the market before Baby Boy gets here). One room at a time, our house finally became the sanctuary I wish it had been all along. And it is SO much easier to maintain now that every last thing has a home. Each morning before we leave for a work I do what I call my "fifteen minute sweep" to get it ready in case there's a showing while we're gone. Why, oh why, didn't I do this a long time ago?? It's so relaxing to come home to a clean place to relax.

  7. Oh I remember having my house ready to show! Nothing will get you organized like that!

    We also have the rule of one tub at a time. But they are big enough to clean the play room by themselves so I rarely supervise. When they used to always play in the living room, it was easier to remind. So....even if they do get out only one thing, I'm not really watching them put it up. So....they've gotten into lazy habits of just sticking stuff wherever. As long as the floor is generally picked up I haven't been too picky about WHERE they actually stuck it all.

    But now I must be more picky. Inspections are gonna kill them. Even while we worked today I caught them "stashing" stuff just anywhere when they thought I wasn't looking. Oh dear.

    And Karly, we nearly always do the 4:00 pick up as well. It's just that---I've been settling for the bare minimum of clean instead of insisting on better.

  8. I'm with ya completely! I've been blogging almost the same thing for the last couple of days. Good luck.

  9. Confession time for me:

    You have encouraged me to tighten up on one of my 14-year-olds. She is so messy, but since she is a good kid in so many other way, I don't make a big deal out of it. Though I should since she shares a room with her twin who is much more neat.

    Of course, like S in your family, A in mine hates that she leaves a trail like the kids in Hansel and Gretel, as if she might need to find her way back to her room from the kitchen where she got a snack to the dining room where she does her homework and back again.


  10. Terry, yes. Get on her. I say that b/c I was "the messy sister" and I gained that reputation at home and it was almost what was expected of me. My home as an adult has reflected that. I got the message that I was messy---not that I COULD be neat if I tried. She's only 14 and there is plenty of time to instill new habits in her before adulthood.

  11. Like I said before, we are right there now too. We just re-vamped this weekend, and it took all my patience (and I lost it a couple times I admit) to get things back up to standard.

    But I have implemented the training for the littlest. She is MESSY!!! The other two not so bad, but the little one? OH. MY. GOODNESS.

    So, I am right there with you, and am doing inspections too. Gentle reminders all day long...(looking forward to THAT) and I hope there will be progress by the end of the week.

    I am a neat person by nature, so I don't understand her thought process. Neither does the Prince, so we're trying to be gentle. It's just so messy!!!

  12. I watch hoarders and cringe and cry... I am not like that but I HAVE THE TENDANCY. When I see a clutter pile I think wow that has been there over two weeks.. how could I have not touched it? but lo and behold it has grown. I just simply have to do flylady.. It is my saving grace. I love the system. I go off it and always come back round to it. I have not done the flylady stuff for kids but perhaps I simply need to!

    We are all right there with you!!!! In the spirit of battle and also in the spirit of I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL SISTER!


I don't get to talk to a lot of actual grown-ups during the day, so your comments make me really happy! :)