|Action Shot of "Florida Sledding"|
Exhausted today. This weekend was a blur of constant work. You probably expect that I built a dozen garden beds, or we finally finished building the pig pen to keep the little piglets from sneaking out and doing bad things, but really all weekend was devoted to cleaning the big kids' room up. Yesterday my time at the farm mostly consisted of lying on a pile of hay and wishing I could move enough to work in the garden.
I don't usually devote that much time or energy on cleaning up after my children.
It wasn't so much cleaning as trying to make it so they can live in their room again.
When Ethan first moved in with me, years and years ago now, that room became his room. It quickly piled up with laundry, papers, books and abandoned projects, and eventually coined the term "crapalanche" (kind of like an avalanche, but with crap). There was a tiny clear space around the only phone in the house. A few times I cleaned it up for him - which he really didn't like. The last time I cleaned it my friend came over and I showed her the incredible result. Her response: "Oh wow, you put a desk in!" (No, the desk had been there for years).
After that I realized that he just couldn't handle that much space, so we decided to make it the children's room. This was also an attempt to remove the spiky triangle blocks and sharp car toys (like the rhinoceros car - designed by someone who hates parents) from the walkway in the living room. It was great until, in a fit of redecorating insanity inspired by Soulemama, I repainted the walls a hideous green color (confession: I really don't like the Yolocolorhouse selection of colors. I know she loves them and is always showing them off, but I think they are always too tinted or too bright. Maybe it's a Maine thing.).
Of course I realized my mistake right away, but after all that work and money (you have to mail-order that kind of paint, and the shipping costs a fortune), there was NO WAY I was going to repaint it all. So we suffered with Thrive .3 (it looked great in the pictures of her library) for a couple of years, until Clothilde was born. Then I decided I couldn't stand it anymore. No one wanted to spend time in that room - it was just too awful.
After many coats of primer and paint (Thrive .3 sure did thrive - through many coats), the walls are now a warm white color. Whew! But the improvements stopped there. We tried putting a bed in for Mirin, but he still mostly spent the night in Ethan's bed, sparking lots of mutual complaining about cover-sharing and where Mirin's feet ended up in the morning.
For a long time the project was semi-abandoned. I worked on it when I could. I even hired a babysitter, because nothing is really possible to accomplish around a baby/toddler, but all attempts were thwarted by children who, instead of putting their clean, sorted, folded laundry away, dumped it on the floor. Many occasions were devoted to this particular outcome, and gradually - very gradually - extremely gradually - I sorted through their stuff, putting Lincoln Logs back where they belonged and secretly tucking away the ugly bits of plastic gifted by well-meaning relatives in boxes destined for the thrift store.
This latter sorting led to all kinds of fits and screaming. It didn't matter that it was a neon-pink plastic bunny in a tutu with a sappy, drooling expression on it's anthropomorphized face that the old lady next door gave them two years ago and they played with for five minutes. They were attached to it. So it was impossible to get the toy load down to a manageable level with them there, and for a long time it has just been stacks of boxes filled with stuff waiting to be sorted through. If you wanted to hide something from them (like the 20 kazoos from our friends' wedding), it was easiest to just close your eyes and toss them somewhere into the room, because no one could find anything in there. It was much more effective than the usual up-high hiding spots, which they know all about by now.
When my dad announced he was taking them all weekend to a cub scout camping trip, we knew our opportunity had come. So that's why it was so intense. We HAD to get it done then. And done it is. At last.