Sunday, 17 February 2013

What a "clean room" means to a teenager

The Before...
We just had yet another round about the room. But this time, I didn't yell or even get mad.  I was too busy laughing.

Why? Because the absurdity of what a teen can call a "clean" room just hit me. Maybe it's because I haven't been sleeping well, and I'm punchy. But it was all too funny to do anything but laugh..

For those of you new to this parent thing, you might not understand. Let me put it in simple terms. Two year olds make a mess. Teenagers give F4 tornadoes a run for their money. 

And then they "clean" it up. And that's where the real fun starts. We had that particular breed of fun just tonight. But I was laughing to hard to haul out the camera, so use your imagination. Here goes...

According to the alternate-reality world of teenager-hood, a clean room may include:

  • Five assorted glasses, cups and mugs
  • Three plates and two bowls
  • My favourite tea pot, the one I said must never, ever, ever, under any circumstances go further than the dining room  (because it was a wedding present and cost more that I could ever possibly justify spending for a tea pot!) 
  • Three pairs of shoes in the hall just outside of the door
  • Two belts on the same hall floor
  • A floor under the bed which was home to a half dozen power cords and headphones, several food  wrappers, an apple core and at least two magazines. 
  • A pile of "I don't know what to do with this" stuff that covers about a 2' x 2' square of carpet
  • A dresser top that I know is there only because I can remember what it looks like from when we moved in.
  • Ditto the bedside table top
  • Ditto the desk top
  • An unmade bed piled with at least half of the blankets, quilts and pillows we own (she likes to make a "nest" to sleep in...oh, wait. She got that trait from me. Never mind...)
I walked in, because she wanted me to see the "clean room". My husband, who had beaten me to the punch, was laying on the floor, laughing. I could not help but joining in. So we giggled. And my daughter giggled. And her friend, who was "helping" her clean, giggled. 

And when we finished laughing, she put on the two belts, and two of the pairs of shoes that had been in the hall (one pair on feet, one on hands), then picked up the long-since outgrown little girl purse from the dresser and announced she was ready to go to Wendy's for a Frosty. as a reward for cleaning her room. 

So.....Dishes removed, space under the bed cleared and vacuumed and the desk somewhat exposed, my husband took the girls to Wendy's for those Frostys

Yeah, according to the "Great and Powerful Oz", or "The Book of Really Good Parenting" (which I am sure exists, but I never did find a copy), we are bad parents.  We should have refused to play along until the room was genuinely clean. We should have used it as an object lesson for responsibility and natural consequences and all the other things the people who have read that "Really Good Parenting" book do. 

But we didn't. We laughed and we bought Frostys

But you know what? I don't care what I should have done. It was worth it for the giggles she gave us. And that's more precious than all the spotlessly clean rooms in the universe.

1 comment:

Michelle Billett said...

I am also a member of the bad parent club. I raise my Frosty in a toast to you!