How many times have you walked into your child's bedroom and immediately wanted to post a sign like this to his or her bedroom door . . .?
You spend a great deal of time cajoling your child into cleaning his or her bedroom, usually after you nearly maim yourself stepping on a Lego, Polly Pocket, Bakugan, Lincoln Log, or some other assorted plaything that is truly a weapon of mass destruction masquerading as a toy? As the pain from stepping barefoot, on a Lego shoots up through your foot, into your leg, makes your eyes water, and the hairs on your head stand on end, and only after you utter every single expletive known to man as well as some that aren't - under your breath, you tell your child that the bedroom will be cleaned up before bed or every single thing left on the floor, under the bed, tossed into the dirty clothes hamper that isn't actual clothing is going to be shoved into a Hefty bag and they won't ever see those toys until they have kids of their own!
Does any of the above scenario sound familiar? It's an all-too-common occurrence around here, and frankly one that I've grown really tired of! It happened last night as I went in to tuck Gaby in for the night. I stepped on one of her creepy unusual looking baby dolls, and as my ankle literally rolled off the head and I howled in pain, I yelled those oft heard words, "You will clean up this room before school tomorrow morning or I'm taking all of this away and I'm writing a letter to Santa Claus, and I'm writing another one to the Birthday Faerie (Gaby's birthday is the day after Christmas no less!), and I'm then going to write another one to the Tooth Faerie (her two top teeth are on the cusp of falling out!), and I'm going to tell them all just to skip out house!"
"OK mommy, OK. I'll clean it up just as soon as I'm up. I promise." It's the standard response I get when having nearly hobbled myself on a toy in Gaby's bedroom. Because she tends to run slower than molasses going uphill in January, in Alaska, she left for school this morning with her bedroom looking like a bombed Toys R Us.
If we're in there with her, encouraging her to put the toys where they belong it usually gets done. Every so often she even takes the initiative and does it herself. "Every so often" being once in a blue moon. I tend to get a little antsy when my house isn't tidy and to be honest, it bugs the dough outta me that Gaby can let her room get to the point where it's a hazard to walk in their barefoot! I swear, kids must be immune to the pain caused by stepping on one of their little toys. I've never heard her once get mad at a toy, or have tears well up in her eyes because she's damn near impaled herself on one of Tinker Bell's wings.
So, after I blew off some steam walking around the block twice, came home and had a nice breakfast of Irish steel cut oats with apples and raisins, I got down to brass tacks and decided that I would "gift" Gaby with a spotless bedroom. I was going to rearrange her furniture and run out and try and find some curtains in the colors she wanted but that didn't happen. Some of her furniture is incredibly heavy and requires two grown men (who've been bribed with many beers and burgers!), to move. I decided to wait on the curtains and take her with me so that she could pick them out.
By the time she got home from school I was really glad I'd decided to tidy up her room. As she stepped off the bus her poor little face was the picture of complete wretchedness. We got home and she flopped on the floor in the living room, looked up at me with tears filling her big, brown, beautiful eyes and told me that a little boy at school had told her that only blue eyes were pretty and that brown eyes were boring and looked like poop!
After a long snuggle in her rocking chair, several books, followed by a few tears, she finally noticed her bedroom. Gaby wrapped her arms around my neck and told me I was the best mom in the whole entire world! That hug and those sweet words made the few hours I spent in there, getting everything the way it should be, all worth it. None of her hugs are ever ordinary but there was a gift for me tucked inside that warm embrace . . .the gift of gratefulness from one so small.
Gaby still had a few tears and it was then that her best buddy took over the job of comforting her. There's just something soothing about all that fluff and fur. She cuddled herself down next to Geronimo, and as he purred she fell asleep wrapped in contentment and warmth.