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Messy, with a Mix of Stubbornness

October 4, 2009 - Jennifer Brookens
It was the first trek to the movie theatre today for my daughter; a reward that I honestly thought was not going to be earned.

As most parents or people who've lived with small children know, they are extremely messy. Getting their rooms clean seems like a joke most of the time. Perhaps this is why the past month played out the way it did. It started around Labor Day when my daughter saw the preview for the movie "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." She was so excited, but she had never been to a movie at the theatre. (This is in part to another thing about most small children: they tend to subscribe to Short Attention Span Theatre). Sensing an opportunity, I went into parent mode and said, "Well, you're old enough now to go to a movie in the theatre, but you'd need to clean your room." Sure enough, she flew upstairs, ready to conquer the piles of toys, clothes, books and Heaven knows what else littering her floor and closet. Five minutes later, I went up to check on her and instead she was in the process of making a new mess.

Should've known it wouldn't be that easy.

The next three weeks were worthy of Loony Tunes. I would think of a new approach to try to encourage her to clean her room, and each time, her enthusiasm would die out, get distracted, or try to rope Mom into doing all the work for her. I did the sad, "I'm just very disappointed..." bit. I went up to her room with the giant trash bag ready to shovel it all away. I tried breaking it down into different segments for each day. I even "gave up," telling her we'll probably never get to see that movie.

In fact, I had given up for real, and it was hard for me because I really wanted to give my daughter that new experience. But this morning, it was easy to see those bits we'd done over the weeks, we were getting close to the finish line. And with a little more prodding, we finally got that room clean. Was it a fair split? Well... the jury's still out on that one. But there was a few indicators that she was trying in earnest to do her part. Plus she brought home a "Caring Kids" award from school Friday, so she must be doing something right and worth rewarding, right?!

Or maybe I was just well played. But I still enjoyed spending the afternoon with my girl. And the movie was decent, too.


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