Friday, January 29, 2010

Picking up

I hate the house being a mess. My husband hates the house being a mess. We go through cycles of thinking of doing something about it, deciding to do something about it, talking about what to do about it, and occasionally even doing something about it.

Here's what I've been doing recently that's working:
Geting up. After the baby's morning feeding at 530 or 6 (already Third is more organized than I--he's put himself on a schedule somewhat), I get up. I might be so ambitious, once Third is asleep again but before Firstborn wakes up, as to get dressed and make myself breakfast. Doing this means I get breakfast, which is a good motivator. Today I had ranch scrambled eggs with kielbasa and mozzerella. After that I work on dishes, figure out firstborn's breakfast, and maybe work on laundry. And veg a little. So the day starts out with food and minor accomplishments, and when Firstborn wakes up, I'm ready for her.

Child labor. Never too early to start. It's good for her sense of self-worth and work ethic, now and into the future. She's really not helpful yet, but it's an investment in her future and my own (hoping she will help cheerfully when older). Should I find time to work on dishes and laundry, she can open and shut drawers and cupboards. She can carry plastic or metal items (and probably breakables too, but I haven't been so bold yet). I can, in fact, give her a stack of tupperware and tell her to put it in the tupperware cupboard, and she is likely to do so. Well, now it's rubbermaid, but that doesn't work as well as a noun and some of my heirloom pieces predate the change. While she isn't really helping much--it may take longer with her help--another major non-obvious benefit is tat she's not getting into anything else while I'm working.

Teaching personal responsibility. This has been a major good change. Okay, I've done it two or three times, but I'm gonna stick with it, really. Before naptime/bedtime and meals, Firstborn picks up her toys. (And in the space of that sentence, we did it again! Go us. I think there's some sort of time differential though... within that sentence, hours passed for me, but only seconds for you.) She needs direction. She needs help. She needs very specific instruction. I do most of the work. But I try not to criticize/correct her work where unnecessary (if the car goes on her couch with her stuffed animals, no big deal--okay, I moved it. But in philosophy I shouldn't have). And by making it her job instead of mine, it helps me stress less, even if I'm still doing the bulk of the work. Not to mention--she won't be twenty and a half months old forever. I have to remember I am investing in the future, teaching and instilling habits that I hope will last a lifetime--habits I wish I had.

Getting all the dishes done before bedtime. If they don't all fit in the dishwasher, they get handwashed. If the dishwasher isn't full, fine. Being in the dishwasher counts as done (and I run if it is full). Just out of the sink and off of the counter. This is something I managed for a little while when pregnant with Third, but then didn't keep up with--but it's a good practice and makes me feel better about things, and now I'm back on top of it again.

Making Daddy's lunch at night. Not really picking up/cleaning, but he appreciates it, and like keeping things picked up, it's a way to bless him. If I wait till morning, when Third is up (and sometimes Firstborn), it's kind of hit or miss.

That said--we didn't do any of this last night when we got home from Bible study at 830. But now the toys are picked up, and... the toys are picked up. Still working on those dishes.

The things we should be doing:
Vacuuming. Probably more than once a week... but once a week would be a start. I imagine our motivation will increase when Third starts wiggling around on the floor and eating things he finds.

Putting away things right after we use them. The little things like hanging up coats when we come in, cleaning up dishes and Firstborn's tray after meals, restocking diaper bags after going out, taking care of mail as soon as possible....

Third needs a bath more often. No, babies don't need baths every day, but twice a week would be a good start. Setting days for it could help. Every night wouldn't be awful--to get him towards a bedtime routine. Firstborn gets a daily bath (almost always) and likes it in theory, but complains about getting her head wet. And having her head rubbed. And getting it wet again. And having it dried. And the whining gets to me a lot... which makes that whole rejoicing thing I mentioned last post hard. Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated.

I used to do the guinea pig cage and litter box weekly on Mondays. Having a set day seems to help me. Hasn't been consistently weekly since Third was born, nor have I even been making any effort to put it on a certain day.

So I am a long way from perfecting this... a very long way... but we are working on it.

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Blogger Milehimama said...

It really does take far longer to train a child to do a chore than to do it yourself (and you DO have to be so very specific! Over and over and over!)

Eventually, though, hopefully, you'll reap the benefits. Right now my five biggest ones take care of the kitchen after dinner (mostly, I still do pots and pans). One clears (the 5 yo), one rinses dishes and wipes the table, one loads the DW, one puts away food, one sweeps.

I am so very bad at schedules, too. Life always gets in the way of my "perfect plan"!

10:14 AM  

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