It's Not Easy Being Clean
During my senior year in college, I remember jumping up from the couch and breaking into spontaneous dance with my roommate as she came out of our bathroom and into our living room with a towel turban around her head and another tightly wound around her body, singing the signature line of OutKast’s So Fresh and So Clean. And yes, I said living room. We were fortunate enough to win a lottery to get a fantastic college-owned apartment positioned just on the periphery of campus (so of course, we felt super grown up and classy).
Flash forward 16 years (eek!) and I find myself frustrated and without any dancing mojo to speak of as I have yet another discussion/argument with my five-year-old. Just this past Wednesday night, she spent considerable time whining about not wanting to get clean and scrubbed up per our agreement earlier.
Why do we negotiate with these tiny terrorists? I swear, I thought for sure I had the upper hand this time! Yet, much like those college days when you’d swear off drinking after a rough night, I know I’ve done this Kinder song and dance one too many times before.
I lured her into a nice warm bath (that I lovingly had drawn for her earlier while I let her watch a few minutes of a show she’d been asking about – hey, she earned it and this mama needed a few moments of peace and quiet) on the proviso that the bath would be quickly followed by a shower to rinse off any lingering colored water, courtesy of a giant container of Crayola Color Bath Dropz, and get her good and clean from head to toe. Then the whining began …
Oh, the whining! It could make you batty.
I realize that, most times, any negative behavior has a direct correlation (and likely causal link too) to her being tired. My in-laws and I joke around about needing a “Snickers moment” whenever one of them gets tired or hungry … and watch out if it’s both! Reminds me of an adorable little Incredible Hulk shirt by TeeTurtle I recently saw.
But seriously, folks! This little lady pulls out all of the stops and puts on an epic performance nightly when it comes to cleaning, complete with crocodile tears.
And it’s not just limited to washing up her body so she’s not a little ragamuffin at school each day. No, ma’am! We’re talking extra drama each and every time we revisit the concept of clean. Whether that means tidying up toys at the end of the day, making her bed and selecting just a few friends (AKA stuffed animals) to display, or doing a larger cleaning project, the word “clean” is this kid’s kryptonite.
I can’t fault her entirely though. I could fire off a battery of memes and favorite quotes about being messy. My kid’s making memories, right? And she’s learning by watching me. *face palm*
My mental cassette tape (that’s right – product of the 80s here) constantly replays an internal debate – one side is the product of my “everything has a place, and everything in its place” mother, while the flipside of said cassette is the creative who gushes over cutely labeled canisters and bins a la Cricut, and shelving solutions yet has piles of papers and other things that have been on the “to be filed” portion of my To Do list for weeks, if not months.
And we occasionally have a reprieve, where we revisit what I lovingly call the daycare days. You know what I’m talking about. Singing The Clean Up Song like Barney and his young friends (who were a bit too old for that particular school, if you ask me). But that dang song works! And on these blessed rare occasions, my child will wax nostalgic about the Fisher-Price classic chatter phone she loved so much at her old school, which had a place on the shelf with a picture and the word “phone” on it. Um, hello sweet child?!? Mommy has set up that exact system for you on your shelves in your bedroom, thank you very much.
I know greater battles will be ahead for my little lady and me as we approach the tween and teen years (Lord help me!).
I just want to go back to being dope. (So fresh and so clean clean!) Is that too much to ask?