Saturday, January 9, 2010

Day 4 Not So Bad

Today was the first day I took the Lyrica last night and again this morning. I didn't have any ill side effects that I noticed. In fact, this afternoon was pretty successful and productive. I have been physically taking it slow but I have been finding plenty of things that I need to do without moving around and potentially hurting myself.I am impressed with just how much I have managed to accomplish by taking things slow and moving steadily throughout the day.

That's not to say that things around here are anywhere near where I want them to be, but I will say that I have had more energy and I have been able to make a dent. More importantly, I have been able to encourage the girls to make the dent. I am a firm believer in "kids pick up their own messes." That sometimes (usually) means that messes get left and occasionally pile up from the sheer amount of kid-ness around here. Just from my vantage point here on the couch I can see a week's worth of "left arounds" that need to be looked after.

Tiny Dancer's homework for the weekend is half done and is strewn across the couch (and across the floor in front of the couch.) Evil Genius has managed to bring all of her most favorite and important toys into the living room. Some how she has also managed to leave art supplies like little landmines all across the walkways and down the hallway. I am quite sure the placement of each pencil and scrap of paper is calculated for the most effective trip-and-fall impact. Little Heart has only a few chores to do right now (because of her broken arm) but one of them is the crucial "putting away the bath towels" job. I will sort and I will fold, but I just simply hate actually taking things out of a basket and putting them away. (Why should I have to? That's what I had three kids for.) She was reminded this morning (again) and this afternoon (again, again) but still the basket of towels is here, in the living room, preventing anyone from comfortably sitting on the couch or ottoman.

The other laundry baskets in here have a good excuse, too. The Pit of Despair that is the little girls' bedroom was too much for even my astounding amount of patience to endure. I refused, this time, to go in there at all, until they had managed to get things at least safe enough to prevent another EPA inspection. I busted them on the "throwing clean clothes in the dirty basket so I don't have to put them away" scheme (Not that I blame them, but still, I have a reputation to uphold as Mommy,) so I have withheld their clean clothes until I am confident I won't have to re-wash them for the fourth time. This wasn't nearly as effective as I had hoped. Apparently it is great fun to run through the house naked (except for a towel and dripping wet hair) to dig your clothes out of the basket after bath time. The sneaky little twerps have figured out that the laundry baskets are right in front of the TV in the living room and even though they are technically grounded from it (another "encouragement" to find the bedroom floor) they can't help but glance a bit at the grown-ups evening shows as they sneak through.

Strangely, though, this afternoon all three girls decided that they had enough (of the mess or the grounding, I'm not sure) and they all went into the Pit to work together on it. They have been in there for three hours so far, and surprisingly, some progress has been made. It is about bedtime now, so they will have to call it quits before it is finished, which of course means they will return The Pit to it's previous state by 7:30 tomorrow morning. I am positive that had I gone in there, the room would be spotless by now and they would all be praising my incredible cleaning skills and thanking me with all their hearts once again. The gratitude just wasn't worth it this time. The physical pain of sitting on the floor and crawling from toy bin to toy bin, not to mention the frustration of hollering all day for the girls to quit wandering around and get back in there to help me, well it was just more than I could tolerate today. So I have been quietly sitting in a different room, kicking them back into play as they wander from the task, hoping that somehow they will figure out just what the dirty clothes hamper is actually for.

Little Heart has been a ring leader for them all today. Her dearest love is getting everyone doing the same thing, mostly so she can be in charge of it. The latest game she invented was Cleaning Super Heroes. They have all dressed up from the various bits they found in the toy bin (which had to be completely dumped out before they could begin cleaning it back up, of course) and they are have been running up and down the hall with blankets tied around their necks and goofy glasses on as a disguise while fighting the evil forces of clutter! LH found a long baton of some sort and fixed a "Captain Hook" hook on one end and she has been swinging it around like a scepter. I haven't seen her this happy is weeks! TD is currently sporting a waitresses' apron and a tie-died picnic blanket. I'm not sure what the apron is all about but it seems pretty important. The last time I saw EG she was wearing a pair if blue tinted sunglasses and an elephant nose. Again, I'm positive she had her reasons.

At this point, the grouch in me wants to yell and scream and tell them all to put the junk away before I throw it out! The Mom in me is just glad all three if them are in the same room (not the same room that I am in!) and they aren't killing each other or obviously planning world domination. Actually, I am just fine letting them have their own time together right now. You see, somehow in all my threats and screaming, I DID tel them I was going to take all the toys out of their room if they didn't put them away. Just like the freaks they are, they ALL THREE decided that getting rid of all the toys actually sounded like a good idea. They each chose out 10 stuffed animals and the rest are getting put into boxes and bags and moved to the hallway.

Now, of course, the hallway outside the door is filled with more than a dozen paper-sized boxes and quite a few blue recycling bags. Someone (not mentioning who, but his initials are Darling Husband) is going to have to find a place for all of these boxes and such. I don't envy him the job. Or the inevitable cries for "Can you find my green pony? I didn't really mean to pack her up too..." While they seem to be enjoying themselves right now, I am positive that packers' remorse will set in within a few days.

One of the things that shocks me is just how many toys they have. LH was showered and literally buried in toys from birth until her fourth birthday (no exaggeration, we have pictures) and since then we have had eight years of Birthdays, Christmases, and Special Occasions to collect anything a little girl could possibly want. They have everything from wooden building blocks and legos of all sizes to a dollhouse and dozens of little dolls (and clothes, accessories, and vehicles) to go with it. They have big baby dolls, little baby dolls, Barbies, Polly Pockets, and even the celebrity and princess versions of all of them. Somewhere they started collecting teeny tiny plastic animals so now there are enough miniature animals in there to fill a miniature zoo, and perhaps a miniature ocean too. Oh, you can't forget the darling little bean-bag toys, of which there are enough to fill a 55 gallon drum, and then some. We have the 30 gallon bucket of pretend food and cooking stuff in one closet, and an entire library full off books in another. I believe DH moved the footlocker full of dress up clothes and jewelery to the garage for the time being. Not all the dress up stuff actually fit in it so they just moved the overflow to another toy box in their bedroom (thus the "masks" and "capes".)

At this point, it sounds like my girls are horribly spoiled. Really, they aren't (though you probably don't believe me any more than any other Mom.) They just have a lot of stuff that they love and they love to play with. They truly do play with just about everything they have. They are extremely imaginative and creative so might be a stuffed bear today will be a princess tomorrow. We also have a large extended family and more friends than I can even count so holidays can get pretty crazy in the toy department. Even after repeated requests for "No Gift" birthday parties we still end up with at least a few more toys for the collection by the end of the summer. Add to that, the room that TD and EG share is pretty small, and you have yourself a pretty big toy problem. We have bunk beds for them, but after the two small dressers, the treasure chest shaped toy box, and the two small toy dressers there isn't really much room in there left to play.

Trust me, this is only a shadow of what they used to have (back when they had a separate play room and we had a separate library.) Over the last few years we have had to move quite frequently and we really didn't want to keep moving around anything that wasn't genuinely loved. So, we trashed broken things and gathered bags upon bags of nice toys to donate to the local charities. I pretty much let them make the choices on their own and I found that they were much more generous, when given the chance, than I ever expected they would be. Through three or four rounds of sorting, we managed to get rid of roughly half of what was there. The girls were very proud of themselves and I was very proud of them, as well.

I am so thankful that they are getting older and toys aren't what they are really asking for anymore. Each of them has their own hobby so we are able to specialize on the items that each one prefers. All three of them are artists, like their father, so we have an extensive collection of art supplies that we can build without creating much more clutter in the bedrooms. We have been culling the book collection somewhat, so we are usually able to fit a few more on the shelves. Being girls, of course, clothes are always welcome. This year everyone has been all about the music, so MP3 players and CD Player Radios were the focus of the gift giving this holiday. While I am dreading the idea of paying for it all, in my heart I am looking forward to the days when small gadgets and electronics replace the Teddy Bears and Puppy In My Pockets.

By the end of the evening tonight, the room is about 2/3 cleaned out and put into boxes. The dirty clothes have mostly been found and placed in the appropriate bin. The Barbies and Pollys have been separated into their respective corners. And, there is still an entire floor's worth of stuff everywhere. The only thing I asked of them tonight is that they make a walk-way from the door to the beds so we can find them in an emergency at night. I let them stay up a whole hour after their normal bedtime, and boy did it show! First, TD goes to pieces because the pathway caused all the toys to be shoved in front her her dresser, then EG has a meltdown because she sleeps on the bottom bunk and everyone uses her bed to set stuff on and she is so tired of cleaning up big and bigger messes that she didn't even make!

Finally they are tucked in, hugs and kisses are handed out (including EG's and my special love-shake) and I believe they have passed smooth out within a minute of hitting the pillow. They wore themselves out today with all of their "cleaning." Tomorrow, I will go in there with a broom, a trash bag, and a stern look and we will probably have the last of the mess knocked out in an hour or so. I don't really mind all that much. At least at this point they are still young enough that I am welcome in their room, even if it is only for cleaning purposes. Now that LH is 12 and is getting to "that age" I find myself creeping carefully or simply lingering in the doorway instead of marching right in. Without a word we both have started to respect each others' space a little more. As long as she stays as open about everything as she is now, there won't be a problem.

I am remembering back to when she was little, before her sisters came along. Sitting on her bedroom floor, sorting the toys, each into their own bins - blocks here, cars there, balls in this, animals in that. In spite of having a job to do, those times were actually kind of special. It was an excuse to spend some one-on-one time. A way to turn an item on my To Do list into a fun and playful thing. It was my intention to turn the picking up into a game so it would be more fun and less work. She and all her sisters seem to have taken the game part of it to heart now. I am happy to let them play, as long as there isn't a deadline we're working with, anyway.

Tomorrow will probably be a little more work and a little less play, but I am going to try and remember the days from way back when, while I am sitting in the middle of a pile of stuff, grabbing hair clips and sorting out crayons. At 8 and 6, TD and EG are starting to move away from the little girl stuff into the Big Girl stuff and I might not have too many opportunities like this to spend with them. There is also a part of me that doesn't mind the mess too much because it means that they are happy and playing and getting along instead of being plugged in to the computer or watching TV.

At least, that is how I am going to try and see it tomorrow. Wish me luck because at half past eight, I'm going in there!

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