Last week, I mentioned to Lyd that the bathrooms really needed to be cleaned. “Momma, can I PULEEZE clean them with you?” came the enthusiastic reply.
Um, sure kid. Why not? But I had to ask her, “Why are you so excited about cleaning the bathrooms?”
“Because I like to use the spray bottle with the cleaner in it,” was Lyd’s answer.
Then I remembered the last time Lyd had helped me clean the bathroom, and how I had to be extra vigilant once I noticed her doing two squirts of F0rmula 4o9 and following it up with one, maybe two, swipes with a paper towel. Despite the open bathroom window, the stench of cleaning supplies became a little overwhelming, and I had to bring the squirting of cleaner to a halt. She was obviously enjoying applying the cleaner more than utilizing the cleaner.
Being a perfectionist, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go through that again, BUT … I do need to provide a good example for my darling daughter. And, frankly, the sooner she learns how to clean the bathrooms correctly, the sooner I can abdicate that task entirely to her (as happened to me when I was a girl. My momma wasn’t stupid. One of the side benefits of having kids is putting them to work!) Plus, here was a ready-made opportunity for me to show her how to have fun while working.
So, I told Lyd that sure, yes, we could definitely clean the bathrooms together. She was so excited, and her anticipation was far more than was called for. 🙂 We decided to clean the bathroom in two days, on Friday, and that night when she went to bed, she said, “I can’t wait to clean the bathrooms!” She woke up the next morning, crept into my room, and said, “Tomorrow we get to clean the bathrooms! I’m so excited!”
(“Good grief!” I thought.) “Yes, isn’t it exciting?” I said.
Friday afternoon arrived. Lyd skipped merrily home from school and asked, “Is it time to clean the bathrooms yet?” “Sure is!” I responded. We headed upstairs to the main family bathroom, assembled our supplies, and began cleaning. True to form, Lyd had a marvelous time with the squirt bottle, but after a few reminders from me, she was better than the last time at making use of the cleaner she had merrily applied. We not only cleaned the mirrors and counters and toilets and icky corners on the floors, we also cleaned out the tub using those scrubbing bubbles, which Lyd thought were super-cool. She also loved using the toilet brush to clean out the bowl. Go figure.
When I mopped the floor, she really wanted to help, and I let her help a bit, but she wasn’t catching on to the concept of starting as far away from the door as possible, working backwards towards the door. She just wanted to randomly scrub. We had a bit of “tug of wills” on that one, and I thought I may have pushed her too far and dampened her enthusiasm for cleaning as she proclaimed in a whiny voice that she was “too tired” to clean anymore, but she recovered well when I told her it was time to clean the downstairs bathroom.
The smaller, lesser-used downstairs bathroom was much easier to clean, and when we were finished, Lyd asked if she could take the spray bottle of glass cleaner and go clean the windows on the back door. (Our back door has one large pane of glass that stretches from about a foot off the floor to a foot from the top. I’m amazed that glass hasn’t broken yet, but it’s held strong. However, it acquires handprints rapidly and almost always can stand a cleaning.) So, off she went to the back door, clutching her bottle of W1ndex and a roll of paper towels.
On the whole, the bathroom cleaning experience was a success. I managed to make Lyd feel worthwhile as she cleaned, meaning I managed not to correct her too often. She was excited to do this chore, and that is what I’m working towards. She’s been so NOT excited about doing chores and/or work, and I’m doing whatever I can to fight against that tendency towards laziness. I don’t want to raise a lazy child; I want a child who knows how to work hard and isn’t afraid to work hard. And if cleaning the bathrooms is where we start, so be it!
She really is a good kid. I’m so pleased to call her my daughter, and I’m doing my dardnest to raise her up right.
It’s the end of the third quarter at school already, (How can this be possible? It’s the middle of March already? Whaaat?) and Lyd got a progress report from her teacher. It reads:
She is doing so well. I think back to the beginning of the year and how much she has grown and it is amazing! She really is so cooperative, helpful, and responsible and is becoming one of our leaders in the class.
I am heartened to read that report. Perhaps there’s a chance that she’ll turn out okay after all. 😉