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I Want My Ten Dollars

May 7, 2009

I sit here tonight plumb worn out from two days of cleaning. I have to do it all in marathon spurts, you see, when, as I do now, I have a full-load of homebound students. This week I’ve had precisely a day and a few hours to get the house cleaned pretty much end to end in preparation for some weekend company. Yesterday afternoon, seeing no end in sight, I decided Autumn was old enough to clean her own bedroom.

Now, this is not really a new concept around here–I don’t want you to get the wrong impression. Even Lawson, at six, cleans his own room. (You can well imagine the job that is.) Autumn has this little collection problem, though…she doesn’t like to throw anything away. Ever. Every now and then, when I have a chance and she’s not around, I’ll wade my way in there, armed with a box of heavy duty garbage bags, and end up siphoning out around six or seven bags of…well, crap. Happy Meal toys, toys that are broken but-can-be-fixed-I-swear-it, toys that she played with when she was three, three-quarters of the stuffed animal collection, etc. Once she caught me lugging a bag down the hall, put two and two together, and accused (gasp!) me of throwing away her things. I confessed my crime readily but challenged her to go into her room and identify five things that were missing. She came up with one: the Barbie dream house. Maybe that one was a little big to escape notice. But you see my point?

There is a different kind of clean for company, especially when said company is going to be sleeping in your room. So I outlined for her what I needed her to do in her room–put everything away neatly, organized, in it’s place, a place for everything, dust, vacuum, blah blah, blah. And then I told her if she got really crazy with it I’d give her ten bucks.

So what can you expect when you ask a ten year-old to clean her room?

If she’s my ten year-old, you can expect a fairly decent pathway. You can expect to find some inventive new hiding places on either side of said pathway, since under the dresser was exhausted at nine years of age.

You can expect to find some of the most curious stashes this side of a six year-old boy…a purse full of random receipts hanging from the closet doorknob, some dated back to 2006, a cup of mismatched Bratz feet sitting on the bookshelf, a bag of shoes that don’t fit resting neatly on the closet floor, paper lanterns from a princess birthday party hanging gaily from the curtain tiebacks, fifty bottles of neon glitter nail polish lining the dresser, a hundred stuffed animals covering the neatly made bed…the list goes on.

You can expect the room to have been vaccuumed, according to said ten year-old, but to find it necessary to vacuum it again in order to get the various and sundry items that were somehow missed in the first sweep.

I have to admit, I was expecting a bit more, considering that ten dollar bill that I offered up on the altar of You’re Old Enough to Do Your Part. I was expecting Martha freaking Stewart for ten bucks.  I think next time, I may need define a bit more clearly the distinction between “clean your room”-clean and “clean your room because company’s coming and I’m bribing you with ten bucks”-clean. There is a difference, after all. It involves nozzle attachments and Windex and things of that nature. My momma told me so.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 7, 2009 11:30 pm

    Good help is hard to pay these days! LOL!
    Seriously, I so understand what you mean. My kids were the same way at that age. I’m paying my teen daughter to be my house keeper (just sweep the floors- no carpet thru the house, it’s the desert- dust and keep up with the dishes) and I must say at 14 they do start cleaning better.


  2. May 8, 2009 8:10 am

    So, underneath the mess there was another mess waiting to be cleaned up? Whoa…

  3. May 8, 2009 8:29 am

    Your Autumn and my Cowgirl have a lot in common. She is a hoarder in the craziest sense of the word. But for ten bucks? My kid would have thrown away almost anything. I guess there’s something to say for depriving my kids… the ultimate bribe around here (for those 10 and under) is a trip to the dollar store.

  4. hintonrae permalink*
    May 9, 2009 10:24 pm

    Good to know A) I’m not crazy B) I’m not alone and C) there is hope for the future.

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