This morning at drop off, I overheard a fun tip in the never-ending clean-up wars. This one was a buy-back table: if a toy does not make it to the box/closet/pocket, it goes to the table where Mom sets a price and the kids figure out how badly they want it back.
Apparently, this only works until they figure out they can ask their grandparents for a new one.
To wit, here are some rules that work for us…
1. If it’s on the floor, it’s out the door.
Whether it’s clothing, toys, or food, we abide by this rule. On my more enlightened days, I convince myself that I am teaching the children non-attachment, but really, it’s just a way to de-clutter. It’s amazing how much faster and thorough cleanup is – and it’s much more effective than singing that effin’ Barney song.
2. If it’s not nice play, walk away.
I wouldn’t say that we’ve raised doormats, but our kids are the ones who will keep going back to the sandbox to get their corneas scratched with silica again…and again…and again…hence this rule.
3. You get what you get and you don’t get upset.
“But I wanted…” Nope, not in this house, and especially not at dinner. With all of our food allergies – gluten, dairy, coconut, strawberries – each night would turn into a catered meal for one. Thankfully, Lori does an amazing job making tasty food and keeping our house from feeling like a hippy-dippy-crunchy-granola-patchouli-pushing ashram.
4. Listen to your body and go potty.
Everyone told us potty training boys would be harder. Pfft, we thought. Harder than starting a business in a down economy? Harder than being an opening gay couple adopting domestically? Well, they were right. You can lead a horse to water…eventually…but it ain’t easy because said horse likes to play and prance and do the potty dance. And when the horse finally does arrive, the multi-function laser shooting from his privates can not only cut glass but also cover a 2ft radius around the target, which is why our bathroom always smells like a public urinal, no matter how much Simply Green we use.
5. 1-2-3 Eyes on me
We got this one from Nick’s teacher, who somehow manages to command the attention of 15 spirited 6 year-olds with this simple phrase. For us, it forces us to really be present when we talk to Nick, Gabe, and even Olivia. We choose our words carefully and frame whatever we’re saying in a way that makes sense to them – so we can immediately see whether they “get” it or if they’re just saying they get it as their eyes glaze over.
I imagine we’ll add to this list, and adjust the ones we do have to accommodate the lovely personalities we have in this little tribe of ours.
What tips keep your household sane?