Karen and I are off for the week enjoying another money saving Staycation holiday. Rather than just laze about (which, let’s face it, is what any normal person would do) we’ve elected to give the house something of a cleaning blitz.
Shampoo the carpets. De-web and de-mould the windowsills. That kind of thing.
It’s a big job and trying to do it with 2 very active children makes it harder still. After all a 2 year old does not appreciate the dictat of not walking on a freshly shampood carpet for a couple of hours until it is dry. And the 8 year old doesn’t give a damn; making a rendezvous with his PlayStation is of a much higher priority.
It is stressful, all this “deep pore” cleaning. And I can now appreciate why my mother used to get so irrate with me and my two sisters on “hoover days” during the summer holidays.
My mother would, without fail, hoover the house twice a week. Mondays would be a “light” day – sitting room and hall only. But Fridays would be the big “all over” day. Upstairs and downstairs. The whole Shebang.
There is something about adults performing cleaning chores that, I swear, just makes kids behaviourally uncooperative. We’d inevitably play up and earn the short, quick arm of my mother’s temper. If we were particularly bad a phone call to my Nan would be in order and she’d speak to us on the phone. Never to tell us off. I don’t think I ever saw or heard my Nan angry but the shame of knowing my Nan felt the slightest disappointment in us was usually enough to bring us all back into line.
God, but I wish she was still alive and on the other end of the phone today.
With the carpets shampood yesterday we all elected to go outside for the afternoon. For the little one this is actually a bonus. He loves being outside in the garden. Rain or snow he loves it. The 8 year old, however, has more of an ambivalent attitude. The garden is great in theory but he’d much rather be inside plugged into his PlayStation or his Nintendo DS.
Except he managed to break the latter in a horrendous fit of temper on Sunday evening.
Every Sunday he has but one chore to perform:
Clean his room.
And, my God, is it a performance. A 2 hour job (at the most) usually ends up taking over the whole day and the whole house. Karen and I have to put more energy into getting him to do it than the job itself would actually take if we were to do it ourselves. But there is a principal at stake here so we persist.
There will be tantrums. There will be wailing. There will be gnashing of teeth. There will be shouting. There will be playing with his toys rather than just tidying them away. There will be miniscule attempts at cleaning and then a million “tea breaks” to recover. And then there will be naggings to get on with the job and get it finished and then the whole cycle will start all over again.
Usually the threat of “no gaming” until the room is tidy ensures the job is eventually completed. With the absence of my Nan on the end of the phone it is the only and best alternative.
This Sunday, however, was different. This Sunday he was told he’d be banned from the DS unless he tidied his room. He said he’d done it and promptly started playing. When we checked we found that the sneaky little so-and-so had merely covered the mess up with his duvet. So gaming was duly banned.
This was when the temper kicked in. And I mean Temper. We’re talking Zeus hurling flaming thunderbolts. We’re talking The Incredible Hulk throwing Chieftain tanks into massive military fuel dumps. Two large tubs of Lego got overturned – 1000+ pieces all over the floor. And then the DS got thrown across the room. £120 quid’s worth of kit broken in a fit of pique.
Karen and I were not impressed. My Nan would have been speechless.
We cannot afford to replace such equipment willy-nilly. So the boy is now Nintendo-less.
The boy of course was distraught. And showed it by having an even bigger tantrum. And then realizing he’d be spending the next 24 hours picking up ALL the Lego from his room before he’d be allowed the ameliorative powers of the PlayStation had another even bigger tantrum.
This was Sunday. And Monday. And part of Tuesday.
The Lego wasn’t completely tidied away until yesterday afternoon after 2 days of sheer hell. Tantrums, complaints, shouts and more attempts at merely concealing the mess rather than actually cleaning it properly.
Karen and I are both exhausted.
Apparently the 8 year old is only possibly on the “borderline of the Aspergers spectrum” according to our local GP.
Christ. I pity those parents with kids who have the full blown version.
The carpet of my mind now needs a deep clean. My mind needs a shampoo.
A good scrub all over please someone.