Note: This was originally written around two very, very fussy, whiny children. Now that said kiddos are in bed (for the time being, at least), I apologize for the sloppiness and have edited for clarity.
My apartment is a total wreck at the moment. I learned over the course of eight years of grad school one way I procrastinated was to clean house. To change that, I refuse to pick up our home when I have more important things to do. That use to mean I would finish a dissertation chapter; this fall, it has meant finishing job apps. The past few days, however, it has meant finishing the projects I started as Christmas gifts while letting my apartment languish.
In the meantime, the girls have really, really done a number on the place. There are papers and little toys every where. Now, I am attempting to enlist Katie’s help in picking up the fine mess that she made.
What I discovered is, sadly, the Santa card has been rendered obsolete from overuse. Yesterday, she wouldn’t even pick up her mess so that I would turn “Tinkerbell and the Great Big Fairy Rescue,” as she calls it, back on. Just now, when I gave Katie the choice between me calling Santa myself to cancel her Christmas presents or cleaning up her messes around the house, she said she wanted me to call Santa myself. There are toys stashed in her closet and the garage as punishment. If I knew an older man whose voice she wouldn’t recognize, I would ask them to call her to convince her to do what I say.
The larger lesson in all this is I need to teach Katie that there are consequences for her actions and also, that Mommy means what she says. What happens if I give her these choices- to clean up her mess or not get presents- and then Santa still delivers a sleigh-load of loot Saturday morning after she declines to clean up her junk? It’s my fault for even blaspheming the tradition in order to discipline my child, not to mention, the pangs of guilt from playing upon her burgeoning consumerist desires. Lesson learned. But still…help!