Friday, May 9, 2008

The Adventure Of Organization

Rick was off yesterday and we decided that he and Superkid would putter around and the girls and I would tackle the mystery mess that has become their room. I look around and really, I don't know how these things happen. It's all one little beautiful being.... Lady Lilo. She is creative, and therefore messy. I take hope since I was the same way when I was her age. If I let her she would have a science symposium in her room, sleep on the floor with whatever blankets she could find, have all sorts of tents with lights underneath, and clothes unending on the floor.
It all sounds very cute but not when you have to live that way with her as a sister and can't use your room for anything, nor find anything because of your sisters creative ventures. We have worked with Lilo over and over, we have come up with what we thought were solutions. We are finally pulling what I call a "Dr. Laura" on her.
I remember hearing a long time ago on "Dr. Laura" that she advised the removal of a kids things if they did not keep up on them. So, the idea is, that we got a storage tote or two and box up the unnecessary things. She gets one coloring book, one box of crayons, her books (which are never to be included in the restriction list), clothes, and that's about it. She is not a toy child so three really are not many of those to take. She does not like Barbies, Poly Pockets etc..... she likes rocks, paper, markers, crayons, little jars or cups full of whatever she finds outside that inspires her ....that sort of thing. Just to give you an idea of what I'm dealing with here...she took the very cute gumball machine she got for Christmas and put a bunch of unused water balloons and other trinkets in it as "prizes" that you could earn from her and she would therefore give you a coin and distribute the prize. Now, that is very creative, but the problem is that it does not work, the stuff gets stuck and then she starts to take the thing apart and have pieces of it everywhere. Of couse, at this point I get to spend five minutes repairing a previously happy gumball machine. Sigh. Gotta love the action around here!
She gets to earn back her trinkety stuff from the tote week by week as she proves she can keep up on what she has.
Clothes are also a big issue for the girls. They kept telling me that the clothes were all over the place because there was not enough room in their drawers. Fortunately we have been blessed with so many hand-me-downs lately that we needed to clean it out. Plus, Lilo does not like girly clothes so a lot of things I have found for her and hopped she would wear, she "poo, poo's" at. She leans to what I would call "trendy/funky". (and Trish, I packed up her tights in the winter box so she would not be so apt to use them in layers with shorts in 90* weather like we usually see her every summer!) She also leans to boy clothes and tries to steal her brothers clothes whenever I'm not paying attention. Yesterday I had to run into town real quick and took the girls with me. I did not realize what she had on (I have a rule that boy clothes are fine at home and play but she must dress like a girl when in town). She was wearing Superkid's green army colored pants and a green boy shirt, and a boy's jean and leather baseball cap. From the back, she looked just like a boy with long hair (which she just got shag cut to her shoulders so the stretch was not far to make). Anyway....
the solution became a number count of clothes: ten short sleeve tops (all long sleeve packed away for winter), five shorts, five pants, 15 undies....that sort of thing. This made them have to narrow down to what they really like. Then, I put some "church clothes" in the closet so the are hung up and not to be confused with play every day clothes.

So, hopefully this will work.
Last part of the equation.....get them back on chore lists. I'm still putting together the "Notebook" and enjoyed reading Zimms Zoo's version. This is the part where I have to be diligent to direct. If I don't, it don't' happen. I was telling the girls last night at the dinner table that both Fishmama and Zimms Zoo have used the term "child labor" before and I think I need to beef up that so Mama does not have to do it all. Princess flipped out and said that was not fair! They could not do it all, and what would I do? I would have nothing to do if I did not help them with their work! I explained that I had no intention of having them cook for themselves, plan and execute their own educations, keep up the whole rest of the house and yard.... I think I'll still have a FEW things to keep me busy. Just a FEW.


Zimms Zoo said...

Here is something you can tell them. When I was a kid and my brother and I comnplained my mom would whip this out. Somewhere in the Bible ( i will need to look it up) it says that a child differ not from a servant in his household, except he be heirs of all things. made me REAL happy.

my kids are convinced that i do nothing too.
we are trying a couple of other things with my messiest child this summer too which I will be posting and letting you know how it goes.

I also instituted the number of clothing law for the girls. We get hand-me-downs by the trunk full from Monkey's only child friend. So they (her and parrot) had to choose. Because 3 girls in one room is almost more than too much! Funny that I said 10 shirts too and monkey insisted that they would never have anything to wear. Ha!

Karen said...

"That is not fair!" "I have to do everything." "Mom, you don't have anything to do since I have to do it all!" Ooooooooh how I've heard those words! The process of chores is sooo much fun...

Anonymous said...

way to go mama! your limitiations on clothing also works on toys. think about it - the more you have the more you have to make room for, the more you have to pick-up/store, the more you've cluttered your life. this applies to kids too! their lives get cluttered by having soooooo much and the choices get overwhelming. life's lessons: learn to be content with little, and be faithful in the small things.

Alicia said...

I will look forward to your creative journey with your sweet messy too!:)

Someday...we live for someday... someday they will get it and call us up eh?

(mom is this you? sounds like you.)
Yes! Toy rotations are phase two. We are gearing up for that next. I'll put more about it when I get to it. Rick has even put his old comics (about 300 of them!:) on rotation too.