Elle, my five year-old is messy. I know most kids are but she takes it to a new level.
It is not uncommon to walk into my family room and see paper, books, pens and markers all over it. She is always playing some sort of school or library and has to put them all over any open space. And if you touch the books or try to clean it up, she is very protective. So, our family room always looks like someone ran in, tossed 200 sheets of paper in the air and they ran off. In actuality, that's what happens.
I make the whole family clean up the room throughout the week. She makes almost all of the mess so I hate to have the boys clean up her mess all of the time. But, I do most of the time. Every six months or so, I get angry and come up with a living room plan to really get the room back into shape. I usually grab clothing baskets and load up the toys and dump them in the basement for another day (month). But with Christmas coming and our annual New Year's Eve bash right behind it, I knew I didn't want to create a bigger mess in our messy basement.
So yesterday, I dumped every basket of toys out into a hug pile. And while Ellie played with the neighbor girls in the basement, I started sorting. Barbies here. Cheapie throw away toys quickly tossed here. Goodwill box hidden high up so no one can recover items. Pens here. Books there. The neighbor girls left and Elle came in. She was in heaven. Mamma sorted the toys and now she can play. Ugh!
So after work today, I set my timer. Every thirty minutes, I walk in and put away or sort ten items. Sure its annoying. But, I keep it a small number so I don't have any excuses or get overwhelmed. My family room is still a huge mess. I am hoping to get to more of it tonight after my librarian goes to bed.
I have enough years in between the boys and my baby to know this is soon over. I'd be lying if I said I will miss the mess. Yes, she is so so sweet and watching her play library makes my heart melt. But she is so so messy. Years ago, it used to be Legos and Star Wars toys all over my floor. Then the toys slowly stayed in the basement or into their bedrooms so Elle didn't destroy their Lego masterpieces. The boys' toys were traded in for lap tops and iTouches*. The Barbies and markers will soon be traded in for electronics. Until then, I will keep coming up with plans. Toys will be sorted and organized. Ultimately, I will work on learning patience, deep breathing and containing swear words as I step over her "libary." Exhale.
*There is a lot of debate as to the plural form of iTouch online. Is it iTouches or iTouchs? Some people suggested iPods. Apparently Apple has not officially used the plural form of the word.
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