Wednesday after school the kids and I set about cleaning their bedroom; I’d had enough of walking by their room and witnessing the clothes that had bubbled up out of their drawers and onto the floor only to be joined by clothes that had jumped off hangers.
The great thing about having big kids is that they’re capable of cleaning their rooms themselves. Sure, their clothes may hang a little wonky on the hangers when six- and eight-year old hands were the ones hanging them, but for the most part the clothes and the toys find their homes. And that afternoon there was not even a grumble, I think because the day prior I heard Little Missy go into the room and say, “Wow, this place is a mess,” to which G could only concur.
So Wednesday after school Little Missy hung up her clothes and picked up toys while G and I decided on places his new toys could live. As I worked with G and dealt with Baby Chickadee’s “Hep you!”--which meant bringing me toys and then placing them in the wrong spot--Little Missy asked if she could put up her tent in their room. Like, right where I was standing. Right where we’d just gotten the floor clean.
“No, sweetie, I’m sorry. I just want the room clean today. But that’s a fun idea for tomorrow.”
She was disappointed but I thought understood. I mean, she was the one who’d been bothered the day before by the craziness.
But maybe five minutes later she asked again. “Can I put up my tent in here?” and quickly softened it with, “I’ll do it myself!” I stopped what I was doing and looked her in the eye. “Little Missy. No. I want this room clean for an evening before we fill it with stuff again.”
She walked away with a downturned mouth and sat on Baby Chickadee’s bed to look at a book. Then, forgetting my near anger from the last time, she bopped over to me and asked AGAIN. “Mommy, can I put up my tent after you’re finished with G?” I turned my body to face her and bent myself so that my face was close to hers. “Little Missy, NO. And do not ask me again.”
When Hubby got home the cleaning was behind us--the kids were in the living room and I was in the kitchen, thinking about supper. Little Missy came in, looked at me, and asked her Daddy to come upstairs with her. Next thing I see her father bringing her tent down the stairs before the two of them head outside.
Page 2 of 2 - Little Missy had finally understood that I did not want that tent in their bedroom, but she decided it best not to ask me if she could set it up outside. So she asked her Daddy. And Daddy quickly set it up on that pretty night, and then Little Missy made a porch for her tent-house out of bricks and brought blankets and books inside.
Good compromise, I do believe. I (and they!) got a clean bedroom and Little Missy got her tent.
Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette and a busy mother and wife. Her popular blog - erin’s little corner can also be found on our webpage,augustagazette.com.