Now that my older daughter's four, she's big enough to do chores and take responsibility for her own messes—or so I thought. Let's just say my attempts to get her to
clean up after herself have not been so successful. Even when I sing that
catchy little song, "Clean up, clean up, everybody, everywhere/Clean up, clean
up, everybody do their share"—I'm the only one doing my share. My share is
Here's what my kid does when she doesn't want to clean up,
which is always:
1. Negotiates: "Can I keep playing and then I'll
clean up after dinner?" No. Unless I'm
just too tired to argue and then yes.
2. Stalls: "Wait, I just have to finish building
these five different towers." Sometimes I fall for this, because, you know,
3. Turns the tables: "It's your mess, you clean it up." This is
patently false as well as disrespectful, but you have to admire the gumption.
4. Ignores me completely. Either I am mute or she is deaf. Or perhaps I've started speaking in
5. Distracts from the issue: "Mom, I'm really
hungry." No way. Then I'll have a snack to clean up too.
6. Wanders away. Now you see her... now she's in her
room making a brand new giant mess.
7. Goes on the defensive: "Mommy, you always
interrupt me when I'm playing." That's true, because she never stops
8. Goes on the offensive: "You're not my friend
anymore!!!" Oh well.
9. Outright refuses: "Noooooooo." And she's two years old again.
10. Offers empty promises: "I'm going to do such a
good job cleaning up as soon as I'm done playing." Uh huh. Screw me once...
11. Shoots for the moon: "If I clean up, can I have
a popsicle and watch Sleeping Beauty?" Absolutely! (I never have to make good, since she will get
distracted while cleaning and be playing again in two minutes.)