30. “Let’s Clean up!” by Peggy Perry Anderson


“I will never clean up my children’s toys.”  I used to say in the married-with-no-children era. I was serious. After I became a mom, “never” has somehow turned into a figure of speech. Just one more hyperbole in my confusing rhetoric. It is not that I don’t try to stick to my guns. Oh, yes I do. But when I don’t, I do clean up my son’s toys instead. And so does my husband. And my son. Somehow, we have discovered that the collective effort and leading by example is more fruitful than throwing orders at our preschooler, who often times prefers to do just the exact opposite. I go even one step further and follow the Kindermusik trick. I sing my calls-for-action. “It’s time to put the blocks away…” You might hear me hum when  throwing the toys into a basket. Have you got the picture? Well, tell me when you stop laughing, so I can tell you that this ridiculous technique not only makes you feel good, spares your voice and energy but it is also fully effective. Even my husband gives it a good word-of-mouth, although I can never catch him sing. And it could be so amusing!

Anyways, if you struggle to find a solution for never-ending mess-making at your home, introduce your child to Joe. His mom would clean up, Joe would make a mess. Day in and day out. Until, Joe decided to take over the broom. You just must see his cleaning technique. Don’t forget he had good intentions, though. After all, he finally understood that “To really clean up it takes two!”

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