April 19, 2010

The Dump's Lasting Effects

Today, during family lunch, Jet tells Adam and me, "I've had night vision for a long time." Adam looked over at me and raised his eyebrows. I held my laughter, because my son was dead serious.

"Oh, and how does one acquire night vision?" Adam asked. "Did you fall in a vat of toxic waste? Get bit by a radioactive bug?"

"When....when I was four," (which was just a couple of months ago) "I tripped over a toy in my room and hit my head." he explained in earnest while reenacting the event. "Then I woke up and I could see in the night." Jet's eyes were huge as he recounted the event.

"Wow", was all I could muster. I tried not to remind him that he wouldn't have gotten hurt if they would keep that dang room clean.

He proceeded, "Then I put my arm up to my eyes like this....and now my bones are green!" After pulling his arm away from his face, his expression said to us that there was no doubt in his mind that he was speaking the truth.

"So, you have x-ray vision too?" Adam asked. Jet fervently nodded

I glanced over at Adam, "I told you that room was dangerous."

Lesson 55: obtaining mutant powers and radioactive bones after tripping over toys in your bedroom = white trash

April 14, 2010

The Dump

My poor boys. Four of them are crammed into a 10 x 12 room, and when we rearranged the living room for our Christmas tree this year I decided I wanted my living room toy free. We used to have a toy organizer shoved in a corner of the living room where toys spilled out all over the main room of our house. I'm sure there are plenty of you who think it is horrible that I de-kidded my living room, but I have 6 kids! The amount of toys in this house is ridiculous!

Now, the toy organizer fits snuggly between their two sets of bunk beds, leaving the overflow of toys to clutter their floor. I'm so happy. Jude has a bad habit of dumping all the bins on the floor while searching for a toy then leaving everything there after it's been found.

The last month of my pregnancy with Stone, I was very tired and lazy. I didn't have the energy to clean their room, or even to fight with them to clean it themselves. Needless to say, their room eventually got so bad, looking at it made me desperately need a nap. The only visible piece of carpet was by the door from us closing the door at night. Despite the disaster, the only thing that ever happened was, "Your room looks like a garbage dump!" coming out of my mouth.

A few weeks after I returned home from the hospital, and after a night of poor mom-of-a-newborn sleep, I went into their room early one morning to retrieve clothes for school. I climbed the mountain of broken toys and stuffed animals, and in an extreme lunge, reached desperately for Jagger's pants drawer. As I stood there I heard Tickle Me Elmo, "Ha-ha-ha...that tickles." I looked down and couldn't see one strand of fuzzy red fur from that annoying monster. If you've ever seen a Tickle Me Elmo you know it's not a small toy. I tried to move my foot because Elmo wouldn't shut up, causing my sleep deprived soul to slowly turn black. "To infinity and beyond!" cried a large Buzz Lightyear completely invisible under the mound beneath my foot.

Lesson 53: kids bedroom being so cluttered you're standing on large talking toys and can't even see them! = white trash

"That's it!" I yelled.

I did a gymnast routine to get out of the bedroom and stomped downstairs. I took the kids to school and upon my return went back up with garbage bags in my frustrated hands, and didn't emerge until 3 1/2 hours later. I came out with a crazed look and three garbage bags full of broken toys, and for some reason, food wrappers. My kids know they are not permited to have food upstairs, but I felt too victorious to yell at them when they came home.

Their room was so spotless it brought a tear to my eye. The floor...I could see the floor, and it stayed that way for a month. I think they were just so happy to get to their beds without hurting themselves, that they took better care of it. The only problem was the occasional food wrapper or popsicle stick laying on their carpet. I would reaffirm the fact that they were under no circumstances to eat food in their room, and ask who had broken the rule. No surprise, no one owned up. Despite my yelling, it continued. Then one day I found a balled up dirty diaper. Weird. Why were my boys playing with a dirty diaper? I asked them why. No answer.

Now, the other part to this story is my daughter. She is constantly trying to be helpful. She loves to get stuff for me, helps me unload the dishwasher, and clean up messes. As soon as she started to walk, she knew how to throw away her garbage. She has always been so helpful that I am able to ask her to throw stuff away for me.

Jovie has always seemed to know exactly what I am talking about. I felt like I was talking to myself for years with the boys, but Jovie came out knowing the English language. Even as a baby she would give me the stink eye when I would make a bad joke, and before age 1 could nonverbally let me know she understood everything I said.

One day, after I changed Stone's diaper in my room, I asked Jovie to throw the diaper away for me. (We have garbage can in the bathroom.) She gladly nodded, took the diaper, and disappeared out the door. A few seconds later she returned for her praise. I thanked her and she left smiling to go see what her brothers were doing downstairs.

After I got Stone ready for the day, I left my rooom. Walking past the boys room, I saw the diaper. Hmmmmm. Jovie must have been distracted because it laid next to a couple of toys on the floor. I picked the diaper up and disposed of it.

Later that day, Jovie had a popsicle. When she was done she brought me the stick. "Put it in the garbage." I told her. She smiled, and started up the stairs. "Where are you going?" I asked, but she kept going. Confused, I got up and followed her. She walked straight to the boys room and threw in the stick. She turned and smiled, waiting for praise. I stood with my mouth agape.

I know she probably heard me saying their room was a garbage dump, but having to retrain my daughter to throw her fruit snack wrappers in our garbage cans and not on her brothers' floor is just plain sad.

Lesson 54: kids' bedroom being so cluttered, your 1 year old thinks it's an actual garbage can = white trash