Friday, March 19, 2010

Last Straw

No really. It was the last straw. I have come home to undone homework, trashed rooms and yes, juice box/CapriSun straws on the floor for the last time. How many times have you read me complaining about my messy daughter? Numerous. And countless times have I told her to have her homework done before I come home. She's home by 3:30. I am home by 7 most times. She really can't get it done?

Undone homework is maddening enough. Repeatedly asking her to clean her room put me over the top. Do you see this mess?

I refuse to go in it to hang up her clothes so some of that mess is me tossing clothes on her bed. But coming home to the undone homework and pigsty, I swear I was going to develop an ulcer on the spot. For sure my head was hurting. My son isn't perfect but his mess I can tolerate and when I say clean it up, he does. The girl is just stubborn and unmotivated by the loss of her DS, going to bed early, the loss of allowance, not being allowed to go to a cheerleading class....unmoved. I knew what I had to do and it requires commitment on my part. The hard part about teaching these kids a lesson is that usually YOU are deprived of something as well. But my husband can't seem to get as riled up by this as I am so unless I am home to have a fit, the crap continues.

Not anymore.

The undone homework - again - sent me into a spin. I had called her over an hour before I got home to tell her I would be home and to get the work done. I checked. Not done. Why? No reason. Then I see the room again. That's all I can stand. She goes to get a pencil to finally finish the homework. I refuse to let her. "You had your chance. Leave it, take a bath, brush your teeth, go to bed."

She's not too fazed. Umm hmm. OK. After she gets in the tub I am still fuming. Before long I snatch a trash bag from the drawer and storm to her room, tossing clothes and school papers and books to pick up whatever toy my hand lands on. She hears it and begins to ask what I am doing. Before long she is wrapped in a towel at the door and it has hit her.

"Please, wait!"

Too late. I ignore her crying and pick up toys until the bag is full. The tears are flowing and suddenly she is fazed.

You think it's easy hearing a child begging you to do or not to do something? It's not. I had no desire to start trashing things. But the I-don't-care attitude had to go. For the first time in weeks I had her attention. The bag went to my car as swiftly as I had picked it up, leaving her to stand crying in her mess.

She has no clue how pissed off I am at the relentless mess. She has no idea how it hurts my heart for her to be sad in any way. But this was a war and she had to go down.

"If I come home tomorrow to this mess STILL here, you lose more," I tell her with the best poker face I have.

All she could do was ask me to help her button her pajama top. Kind of pathetic really and freaking cute. But I am standing my ground.

"If I clean up my room, can I have my stuff back," she sniffed. "I don't know what I am going to do," I tell her without feeling. "The only reason it's not at the dump now is because it's closed."

Threats are pointless. You can't start something like this and not follow through. I can't say the bag is going to the dump and not dump it so I won't go there because it's not what I want to do. But of course if cleaning once gets her her stuff back, then what's going to make her keep cleaning? It's a conundrum. Thankfully, her being 6 may be in my favor since she most likely won't think quite this far. Let's hope I'm right.

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