Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Help Wanted.

Okay, the whole updating of the Fetus is just going to have to wait because my elder daughter is driving me out of my mind. Out. Of. My. Mind.

You know how everyone talks about boys and their manic energy and how they just make messes and tear things up to see what they are made of and how it's just "boys being boys" and so on? Well, I've got that in my Tot and I'm exhausted. I'm tired of walking into the playroom (which was reasonably clean that morning) and seeing the dress up box turned on it's side, contents asunder, every toy available to grab on the floor, brand new unidentifiable stains all over the carpet, pencil marks on the walls, drawers to the dresser broken, every piece of paper torn to shreds. It's exhausting. And it all takes place in total silence and so fast you can't even imagine.

Please, mother's of boys or mothers of girls who are just as mindlessly and unmaliciously destructive as mine, please tell me how to get this under control.

10 comments:

Angela said...

We'd always done this to an extent but take most of those toys and put them in the attic. In the toy corner now we have legos, some nerf guns and tons of books. Plus in another room we have the other blocks, legos, rescue heros (we have like 30), nerf guns, care bears etc. And when they want me to rotate (like every week or two) we put something away and get something new out. It works so well (a locked cupboard/closet is good too) because it limits how messy it can be and htey never feel like they don't have enough toys.

Cat said...

Mia is very similar in that everything in her room is in the middle of the floor in an instant! She loves, loves, loves to play with the new dollhouse that she got for Christmas, but before she sits down to play with it she, without fail, pulls every item out of the closet, empties all the bins of books, and dumps out every basket or bucket of stuff she can find. Then she sits amidst the chaos and plays with the dollhouse for hours on end. It's almost like a clean room hinders her imagination. Either that or she just likes to try my patience. ;-)

MamaHen Em said...

I can't remember how old your daughter is? My youngest child, a girl, who recently turned five, lives like this. I will say, she is incredibly creative, but it doesn't change that the mess drives her type A mama to the brink. Our solution? I will ask her once to clean up. I refuse to help. The timer goes for 10-15 minutes, depending on how big the mess is. When it dings, whatever she didn't clean up goes in a trash bag which then goes to the garage. Then, starting the next play time, each time she puts one thing away before getting something else out, she earns back a toy from the trash bag. At the end of the month, it's either empty or it goes to goodwill. It worked pretty well. She still makes messes, but she is much, much more responsible for the clean up (If it needs vaccumed, she vaccums, if it's been colored on, she cleans it up, etc. Which also has taken care of the carelessnes issue) Good luck!

Cynthia said...

ooooh, I like the MamaHen comment. It would help to see which things mean something to her and which ones don't.

Nicole McIntyre said...

I was going to suggest something similar to what MamaHen said. It worked well when I taught preschool and the kiddos got lazy about cleaning up after playtime. I would tell them what I was counting to that day and count it out for them. I liked that approach because they knew how much time they had left and wouldn't dawdle, they liked competition and wanted to beat me, and it always reinforces counting skills. The favorite was when I would "count like the Count," adding in the ahh-ahh-ahhs. Once I was done, if it wasn't put away correctly or at all, it got bagged. I only had to bag twice. Be very dramatic and sad about it, but not angry. Also, make sure everything has a labeled home, with a picture. Kiddos are visual, so take pictures of what it supposed to look like clean so she can look at it, as well as take pictures of things for the labels (ie, dollclothes with a picture of the neat and tidy basket of dollclothes) Taking the guesswork out of cleanup time makes it a lot smoother.

emily said...

In my kindergarten classroom, this was a huge problem. Along the lines of what Nikki said, the more dramatic the better. For example, when a center was left in a mess, I covered it with a sheet and (very sadly) announced that the center was closed because we did not put things away correctly. I left the sheet there for a while before giving the option (days later) to correct the problem and reopen the center. Some variation of that idea might work at home...

Tiffany said...

Um... I am still this way, so I can't really comment here. you really should talk to my mom, UK. I've told her some of your Tot stories and she just laughs ruefully and says, "Boy, does that sound familiar."

Elizabeth G-R said...

About the wall drawing...
Have you ever considered painting a section of her wall with that chalk-board paint? Once it's dry, the kids can draw on that section over and over and over with chalk and it just wipes clean. That might be a way to focus her desires into a constructive form.

Nicole McIntyre said...

Something I just thought of that works really well for us is "gossip." Catch your kiddo doing well and tell whisper it to someone else. I really like using this to each kiddo, like whispering to Maddie that Braedon went potty but not saying it to him. It makes them both try harder. Catch her doing what you want, even if you have to prompt and the room/walls are only clean for a nano-second then throw a freakin' parade for her. Positive reinforcement is worth it's weight in gold.

Amy Lu said...

Mind games....tell her a clean house is a happy house. A dirty house is a sad house :(.

LM has been a neat freak ever sense this came about. Even asked for her own broom and dust pan.

C'mon UK...if you are going to do this mother thing you need to bring out the evilness from within.