If Toys R’ Us and a dumpster had a baby, it would be my house. It’s a mess, all the time.
I’m trying to teach my children responsibility, but they are freaking slobs, and I’m losing my mind. Every day is Groundhog Day, I repeat the same sentences, battle the same problems, and trip over the same toys.
I get angry looking at the mess.
The floors and walkways are congested with kid crap—shoes are scattered near the front door, toy buckets over-turned, books piled on the sofa, end tables, and kitchen counter. A doll here, a truck there, two backpacks, multiple jackets, things hanging from chairs and banisters instead of in the closet—as God intended.
I yell, “If you can’t take care of your things, then I’m going to take them, and you won’t get them back!”
And I do. Before long I run out of places to put the toys and nonsense I’ve collected. No one seems to notice, or care, that these items are missing.
I could throw them away, and boy, do I want to, but these things cost money—my money. Most of the time it’s things I can’t throw away, anyway. The school might take issue with me trashing library books, or sending my kids to class shoeless. “Sorry, Mrs. Johnson, I threw their shoes in the garbage after they left them in the middle of the floor for the 82nd time.”
I’m starting to understand why Laura Ingalls Wilder’s parents only gave her a penny, a peppermint stick, and a tin cup for Christmas—less to trip over.
So, I take these toys as their “punishment”, and I stuff them in my closet. This will teach them to clean up after themselves, I think.
Do they care? No, no they don’t.
Now, I can’t reach my own clothing without scaling a mountain of kid contraband. Every toy worth playing with is in my closet, so my house is relatively clean. But, since all the entertainment is on lockdown, they have nothing to play with, so they’re “boooorreeeddd!” They resort to playing with each other, which would be great if they were using their imaginations, or at the very least, not acting like feral children. But instead, they irritate each other, assault each other, and scream.
My right eye begins to twitch from all the screaming. I close the bedroom door, so they can “play” out of earshot. Imagine my excitement when they emerge every two minutes with a complaint. “Mommmmmyyyyy….”, they whine, approaching with a limp. They report their grievances, I demand apologies, lather, rinse, repeat.
I do more regulating than Warren G. Whose punishment is this, again?
With the only three toys left in the house, they manage to make a mess worthy of FEMA assistance, and casually wander away. Do they care if these toys are collected and stored away with the rest of their belongings? No, no they don’t.
I need to know they will get this someday—the “picking up after yourself” thing. With every toy I collect, and privilege I revoke, I’m losing patience, and faith.
I open a Tupperware container of leftover birthday cake, and proceed to eat 3,000 calories while I mull over my options. At this point they are too old to leave at a fire station, so I say what I always say, “If you can’t take care of your things, then I’m going to take them, and you won’t get them back!”
I guess I’ll just shove them in the closet with the rest of their crap. Like I said, Groundhog Day.