My children have the ability to extract a wide range of emotions from their worn out mother. Their daily quest to break me down often leaves me to wonder, "Should I draft a proposal for our own reality television show?" The drama that we create and escalate rivals the escapades of some crazy reality series...minus the income! Seriously, these children look so angelic, yet are capable of rendering me speechless and feeling like my brain has been squeezed of every drop of "Love and Logic" parenting it could hold. I love them immensely and feel proud to be their mother 95% of the time. The other 5% leaves me ready to pull out my nose hairs one by one. I am not too proud to admit that there are moments when it is a blessing that other people are unable to read my thoughts. They would be shocked! But here's the truth: Most parents have moments like that.
I had an opportunity to take some of the wonderful "Love and Logic" classes and desperately want to believe in the concepts that were discussed. I have even practiced the techniques ad nauseum. Let me tell you, those techniques are excellent and do work, but my children fight them kicking and screaming along the way. If you haven't heard of the program, here's a link for you. It is well worth the classes and their resources are very helpful. However, let me assure you that parenting is a human endeavor fraught with detours. I have to admit that I take many detours and often revert to hard core military boot camp style parenting when all else fails. Not every child is the same and in my case, all of them want to be "in charge." So while you peruse the website for the "Love and Logic Parenting" techniques, let me share my adventures in what I call the "Laundry Pile Project."
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Last week after returning from the laundrymat for our weekly adventures in "Clothing Maintenance" I encouraged everyone to please put away their own items. Their drawers are all clearly marked with their names and the clothing item that belongs in said "drawer." Funny that by the end of each week underwear ends up in the shirt drawer and dirty shirts become co-mingled with socks. Anywho...each week we regroup items and categorize them for the week. Yeah, I know...but I was raised by an Army Dad and an Immigrant European mother and organization was key to keeping a large family household organized. I do find comfort and security in actually knowing where to find things. Makes sense to me. My children are more of the free style fly by the seat of your pants variety. We're a work in progress.
So after the weekly rearranging of the drawers, I placed a fresh laundry bag in the same spot I always do at the beginning of the week. Each day I remind the children to make sure their dirty clothes end up "INSIDE" the bag. You'd think this was a given. They know and see that each week I close up the laundry bags to put them into the car for our trip to the laundrymat. Yet inevitably, the clothes end up spilling over the sides by Day #3. This past week, after one reminder, I decided to let things "fall where they may." I waited as the first bag filled up. That's when it all begin. "The Leaning Tower of Laundry" begin to take shape. First there were a few socks. Then the pants were added. Underwear began to topple over the pile. I remained silent. Surely someone would get tired of stepping over that mess and begin a new bag. Nothing! Finally, that tower reached it's maximum capacity and tumbled over.
The kids looked up at me with wide eyes as if to say, "Now what?" Hmmmm. I wonder. I just shrugged my shoulders and said, "Hmmm. Looks like that pile could use another bag." I thought to myself, "Did they not see that coming? Was their field of vision impaired in some way? Perhaps they enjoyed the look they had created as they expertly stacked each piece of clothing to form a skyscraper of socks and undies." Whatever the reason, it made me think about the creativity involved in their sculpture. As I lay awake in bed last night, here are the random thoughts that I just had to get out of my system before I could doze off:
- Too bad I won't have anyone from Architect's Digest coming over to do a story on this amazing structure.
- I will definitely win no prizes from Home and Garden regarding this awesome decoration my children have created in the corner of their room.
- Hmmm. Wonder if this qualifies as a "Work of Art." Will the Museum of Modern Art be interested in an exhibit featuring my children's "Leaning Tower of Laundry." This can be accompanied by their "Brownies Squished into the Living Room Carpet" and "Shoe Collection Radomly Placed by Front Door." Hey...stranger items of a biological nature have been displayed with significant fanfare and controversy all in the name of "Art."
- Maybe one of them will decide to study engineering or become a sculptor.
- Go to sleep, Mary. Just list this as one of the many mysteries of motherhood that you didn't see coming.
- I just have to write about this on my blog.
So the children did end up getting those clothes into bags and cleaning up that tower. After all, they are pretty good kids. I was happy it got done without all the usual drama. And we had a little chuckle over how silly it was to let that pile get to a point where it fell over. Hopefully next week will be better and we have learned it's better to start a new bag when the first one is full. This was one of my better "Love and Logic" moments. Looking forward to many more. Like I said, we're all a work in progress - mom included.
Happy Wednesday! Find a quiet moment for yourself. You've earned it!