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Parental Failure #732

My parents are coming to visit, so we spent the weekend cleaning the house. This morning I am sore all over, which is pathetic on so many levels. I know my mom would say not to worry about it, that they're coming to see us, not our house, but she's never seen my house at its messiest, and I'd like to keep it that way. I aspire to be the kind of person whose house can be ready for visitors with, say, an hour's notice. Right now, I need at least three days.

Anyway, as I was cleaning our bedroom, I realized I have gone wrong in a very significant way. Here is a sampling of the objects I was pulling out from the dust underneath our bed: A plastic tea cup. An Ariel bracelet. A baby doll bottle. A My Little Pony brush. A fairy puppet. A Little People car. I realized that not only an I a slob, married to a slob, raising two slobs, but that I have, in my slobbiness, failed to preserve the sanctity of the master bedroom.

I never would have dreamed of taking, much less leaving, toys into my parent's bedroom. My parent's bedroom was not a place to play. I never even went in there, unless it was to get a new tube of toothpaste or a fresh bar of soap, which were stored in the top drawer of my dad's dresser. (My whole life, I will never forget the smell of my dad's dresser drawer. Mom, Aimee, are you smelling it now too? That kind of soapy medicinal smell?) It's not that my parents ever told us to keep out; it was just understood that their room was off-limits (and boring).

My children, on the other hand, view our bedroom as an extension of their playroom. Why did we allow this to happen? In part it's because of the TV, I guess; in part, the fact that our room isn't set apart from the rest of the bedrooms; it's only three steps from the girls' room anyway. They tend to run in there after their baths to snuggle under the quilt on our bed, or to catch a few more minutes of Nickelodeon before lights-out. They also like to play wrestling or tickle games on the bed with Chris (while I go elsewhere -- I've told my kids I don't know how to wrestle. So far they believe me! And I can't stand hearing people being tickled; brings back bad memories of my big sister holding me down tickling me. I could never break free and I haaaated it. Ugh. I'm twitching right now just thinking about it.) It's not that I mind the kids being in my room -- there's just no reason, I see now, for the room to become a repository for their toys.

So -- new rule! Toys that come into our bedroom must exit the bedroom that same day. If that helps keep the bedroom even 25% cleaner, it's progress.

So, for about six years now, or as long as I've had children, I've been thinking that I simply can't keep the house clean because of the children. Not just because they're messy, but because they demand too much of my attention. This weekend, however, apart from a few minutes here to open up some play-doh jars and a few minutes there to start a Tivo'd episode of Drake and Josh, the kids were really good about keeping themselves entertained and out of my way. So I guess I don't really have an excuse anymore. Huh.


Anonymous said…
732 parental failures in 6 1/2 year isn't so many! I could probably do that many in a week!

aimee said…
It is a sad day when you realize that you no longer can blame your kids for not cleaning your house.

And I am smelling dad's drawer as I write this...

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