Hazards of living with little girls

Washed a dress with glued-on sequins at the wrong temperature – the sequins washed off the dress, but enough glue remained such that the these dots, temporarily liberated, successfully adhered to socks, dress shirts, underwear, and the dryer drum interior. They are impossible to remove now.

One daughter has a penchant for shredding books in her room when she’s supposed to be resting quietly. It’s been worse than what you see above – one morning, I looked in and thought the floor strongly resembled hamster bedding. Every few months, we ban books from her room, but they creep back in and then BAM, hamster nest.

This is the detritus of small children. When they are searching for a particular toy, look out, ‘cuz nothing is sacred. Of course, they lose interest in said toy about 45 seconds after they find it. Nothing motivates them to clean – not praise, threats, hugs, bribes, candy, yelling, adult help, clean-up songs – nothing. I’m at my wits’ end. When I absolutely can’t stand it anymore, I put half of it away and throw the other half away (take it to the trash or storage). They cry and tantrum as I toss out their stretched neon slinkies, lens-less kaleidoscopes, worn out glow sticks, and kids’ meal plastic crap toys, but they STILL don’t clean up. We’re doomed.

7 thoughts on “Hazards of living with little girls

  1. Oh yes, mine is 13 and still does not pick up anything, I go in the kitchen and there is a freshly made pitcher of lemonade on the counter, the empty packet beside the pitcher, the big spoon in the sink, the drawer open where the big spoon came from… I have taken to docking her allowance $1 for every day that she doesn’t bring down a load of dishes from her room when asked. I can’t imagine I’d even still be alive if I was going through this x2 or x3…

  2. I totally feel your pain. That is what my living room and their bedroom looks like most days. I just spent a lot of time and money re-doing their bedroom (3 and 5 year old girls) with toy storage, a fixed up closet and bunk beds and nothing stays put away. I thought if we had some good solutions it would stay a little cleaner…but no.

    The 5 yr. old actually loves a tidy room but has a little ocd and if things aren’t done to her standards she has a fit. I put some t-shirts in a skirt cubby the other day and she was convinced that I had RUINED EVERYTHING. sigh. The 3 year old is a cluttery slob who hates throwing things away (a bit like me I’m afraid, though I’m getting better).

    Keeping anything presentable is straight up exhausting.

  3. I can tell you from (sad) personal experience that some girls *never* outgrow this stage.

    Of course, some boys don’t either. Though sequins are less of a problem with boys. :-)

  4. Bummer about the sequins inside the machine(s), but otherwise kinda funny!

    Not having kids of my own (but I am the oldest of 5, and have worked with kids my whole adult life!) I’m not sure about specific things to try. But I can say a few things about managing behaviors in general. You have to be consistent!! Generally the consequences have to be something that you can live with so that you will be able to enforce them consistently without making you feel like it is actually making your life worse!

    Perhaps your last solution is good, but take it even farther, leave out the tiniest amount of toys, and then enforce them being put away each day (or however you would like to enforce it). If they manage this, then can gradually increase the number of items. And then they lose items if they backslide.

    As for the book shredding, I am uncertain how she did it, but my Mom instilled a very strong love/respect of books in us from a young age. I still cringe when I see books with torn pages, or that have been drawn in!

  5. Oh June, I feel for you. My daughter, now age 29 (born on June 2) was a total slob and would never clean up. She acted like I hated her if I tried to get her to. I had some success by working with what was most important to her: going somewhere, anywhere. I would say that we were not going to X until she had completed a specific task. But eventually we just kept the door to her room shut. We downsized right when she graduated from high school and everything had to be packed up when she left for college (in another state). What was left we donated, shipped to her, or threw out. There were melted candy canes in the carpeting! Children are hell. I sometimes think that to get her to clean up I would have had to be very mean indeed, and I’m just not equipped that way. Good luck!

  6. it won’t help the dryer drum interior, but could you rewash everything (minus the sequined dress) at the same wrong temperature? while everything is still wet, you might be able to remove the sequins from the items you really care about. of course, your time is probably more valuable…

  7. Our older son was a fairly typical teen in that he didn’t necessarily pick up after himself, but he did tend to do periodical clean-ups. Now he has his own (very small) house, and it seems to be fairly tidy. Younger son was always a mess; that tends to accompany ADD. One girlfriend/roommate showed him the advantages of living with less, and now his apartment is under control.

    It will take years. Close the door(s) on their room(s) is a widely used tactic. You may find it helpful when they hit teenagehood.

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