I was clearing up Thaïs’ playroom yesterday and thought I’d ask her to help out. Now I do get her to clear up her mess occasionally, and she obeys, but on each of those occasions there had been just a few toys lying around so it wasn’t too daunting a task for her and she’d manage to get the room cleared up pretty quick.
Yesterday, however, was a different story. It seemed as though she had dumped the entire contents of her toy chest on the floor. And since she wasn’t playing in the room any longer, I thought I’d get the place cleared up. I groaned looking at the mess and decided to get my revenge. “Thaïs,” I called out. “Please pick up all your toys and put them in the toy chest. I’m coming back into the room after 10 minutes and I expect the mess to be cleared up. If I see any of your toys on the floor, I’m going to throw them out. Do you understand?”
“What? Throw them out? Where?” she asked.
“In the garbage.”
Her eyes widened in shock. “I’ll tell Daddy,” she threatened.
“Please go ahead. And while you’re at it tell him to come in here and take a look at this mess.”
She looked around the room. “Err… no. He’s busy. Don’t disturb him. But I need them… I’m still playing, Mummy.”
“You can’t be playing with all these toys at the same time. Come on now… start clearing up.”
After a little more coaxing she agreed to clear up the room.
I went back after about 10 minutes. My dear daughter had indeed started clearing up. The only difference was, all the toys that had previously been on the floor were now piled up on the table, the couch, and her mini easy-chair. Her toy chest was still empty. “But Mummy, you said no toys on the floor…!”