A few months ago, I read a blog post on Rage Against the Minivan about how to make your kids only play with one toy at a time. Apparently at Montessori schools, each kid has his or her own little rug to define their play space. You can only have one set of toys out on the rug at a time. When you finish with one toy, the limited space of the rug reminds you to put away what you have before you get something else out. The mom at Rage Against the Mini-Van claims that using these rugs at home kept her kids keeping the playroom neat and only taking out one thing at a time.
I’ve been meaning to try this, but haven’t bought the little rugs yet. I mentioned to Lily that I wanted to try something I’d seen on the internet to keep the playroom neat. She wanted to see pictures of what I meant, so I showed her the blog post.
She translated it to the playroom carpet being a little rug and that she could only have one toy out at a time. Suddenly the playroom was neat. Painfully neat. In fact, Lily wouldn’t let anyone mess it up.
The second a second toy came out, she would put it away. She refused to go to bed until everything was clean. She yelled at Rose if Rose took out more than one toy. She cried if we had friends over because they’d mess up her toy room.
My husband told me that between the blog post I showed her and my nagging/yelling at her to keep the playroom clean over the years, I’d given her OCD. I worried about it and explained to Lily that sometimes a little mess was a good thing.
It really is ok to be messy sometimes, especially when you were a kid.
And with that, I screwed up the whole thing. She immediately stopped cleaning.
She doesn’t have OCD after all. The playroom is a mess. I have trouble even getting her to pick up at the end of the day. She moves like molasses putting toys away and it drives me insane.
Maybe I need to show her that blog post again and actually buy the little rugs. There has to be a happy medium. Surely the girls can pick up the playroom on a regular basis without being totally anal about having things clean. It’s not like my expectations are terribly high. I just want to be able to walk through there in the middle of the day without tripping. A girl can dream.