So here’s what the beginning of our weekend looked like: Friday morning we were rushing out the door to get E to school on time. Her class was attending a production of The Wizard of Oz, and so she was dressed up (requiring extra time to accessorize of course – i.e. stall) and she was in need of a smallish bag to just hold a snack and water bottle for the train trip out to the show. She was searching through her wardrobe looking for said bag, and she came down frustrated and empty handed a few minutes later.
“My closet is a mess! It is SO disorganized. First thing we are doing this weekend is cleaning it out.“
I know what you are thinking – what in the world kind of eight-year-old makes this sort of statement? To which I’ll answer – I have no idea. She’s not exactly the first to put picking up on her list of fun things to do on a Friday night. But perhaps she’s a bit more like me than I thought. I have plenty of moments when I just can’t go another single moment until the area that I’m working in is organized. Usually it’s more of a procrastination technique, but I do work better in a clean, orderly space.
So after school on Friday we walked home and got to work. We pulled out all of the creative stuff – the paper, the art supplies, the knitting equipment, the canvases, paints and various feathers, beads and glues. We pulled out the treasure box, the bed sheets, the doll clothes and stuffed animals, and I gave her a few boxes to sort through, recycle and give away. We made reasonable headway on this despite the fact that we had F in our midst – she’s a bit of a toddler tornado in a room. But when E left for an event that night her room looked worse than it did when we started, and I just couldn’t move on to what I needed to do until it was back together.
In the quiet of the evening I set to work. Dusting books and shelves and knickknacks. Rearranging toys and supplies – putting away somethings and bringing back out others. And recycling a whole lot. (That is always easier when the kids aren’t around.) I arranged the books by color rather than height, moved them to the other side of the room – Playmobil sets got dedicated shelves in the closet, American Girl dolls got a new spot on the window seat. Fresh seats, vacuumed floors, dusted mantel. By nine o’clock it was done, but E went home with a friend for the night so the room stayed quiet and still.
Saturday morning the little one woke up and wanted to see her sister. Her temporary disappointment at not finding E sleeping in her bed vanished when she took in the newly rearranged bedroom with no sister to police it. She immediately set to work.
All the forbidden treasures came out to play – the tiny play violin was practiced – first by her, then all the dolls. And the new reading corner was a big hit – and every fragile pop up book was read, carefully and with feeling. I watched her play for almost an hour, letting her enjoy her freedom, but making sure her visit left no permanent scars. I asked her if she liked her sister’s “new” room and she shook her head “yes”. Then I asked her what she liked best in this room – what was her favorite part?
To which she promptly replied, “No Sissy.”