I walked into my room this morning and stood still in shock. What had happened? A cyclone or has the Clothes Fairy exploded? Then I remembered the boyfriend was visiting and this is how teenagers clean up.
Yes my youngest complained because her boyfriend was visiting and there was laundry on the dining room table.
“That’s a nice look!” hands on hips, the teen glare withering.
She was told she could put the freshly washed laundry in our room.
What was I thinking this was a much better solution!
Next thing we hear a yell “Look at the theatre room!”
Now you will need a little background information to fully understand the situation.
But first; don’t judge me! Please don’t judge me! I live with my mother, a 24 year old perfectionist and two teenaged girls. I am well aware that I am doing this parenting thing all wrong. I know there were better ways to do this but I am not clever enough to think of them or I am too lazy.
So just please don’t judge me.
Okay the truth! We moved house 5 years ago & in that time two of my children have neither unpacked or comprehensively cleaned their rooms. I would like to point out that both are autistic & one has ADD. Of course my eldest’s room is perfect; partially because she is indeed perfect and partially because she stores excess stuff in other parts of the house; i.e. they are now my problem.
The other daughter is not too bad, I’ve tidied her room a couple of times and her father’s cleaned it numerous times. Now shut up! Her friends are visiting tomorrow and she doesn’t know where to put the stapler so she has frozen in the middle of the room not moving, speaking or reacting in any way. Because she may not know where to put the stapler, but she knows it doesn’t go where I just suggested. So I cleaned the damn room! And disappeared boxes of her most prized possessions that would only be returned when she made room for them. She is autistic, out of sight, out of mind, some of the things she re-bought on shopping trips with her carer, some is just lost to the mists of time. I mean how do you fight that?
The remaining two are more challenged by autism & associated co-morbidities. The job was overwhelming, attempts at breaking the job up into manageable parts were defeated by the sheer weight of mess, the mess just slid into the cleaned areas. They couldn’t physically reach their wardrobes or cupboards so clothes had no where to live except the floor.
I tried to clean their rooms and I became overwhelmed. I would be found standing in the middle of the room crying and biting my hands, my husband would lead/push me to the couch and get me a nice cup of tea and chocolate, put cartoons on TV, cover me in a blanket & pat me on the head. I would drink my tea like a good girl and then have a little sleep. I must admit my abilities as a cleaner are not up to the monumental mess my little girls are capable of generating.
So two support workers and I got together to help my little ‘mess looking for a place to happen’ to clean her room. Two antihistamines, 1/2 a bottle of eye drops, 8 puffs of Asmol (Asthma puffer) and 3 hours later we had a box full of stuff dusted and sorted. Unfortunately my asthma lasted 4 days and other parts of the house suffered.
So I bit the bullet, we needed professional help. Now my idea was to move all the mess that wasn’t obviously rubbish into sealable boxes or bags, dusting the items first and covering them. That way the child and a support worker or parent could just dust off the container and then put away or discard items in manageable lumps. Yes it is completely unfair to the other two, yes it is the easy way out but my health is deteriorating and I’ve been told to avoid stress. Don’t worry it’s all stress related illness and injury there is nothing really wrong with me that can’t be cured. Remember I have people to remind me of every little tiny thing I do wrong or don’t do right!
One professional took 4 hours and there is still a lot to be done but it has become a manageable project. Another professional has taken 3 hours on the youngest’s room and is going to give it another 3 soon.
Anyway the girls are totally revved up and have been cleaning their rooms, it worked! Unfortunately there are 5 years of clothes (clean, dirty clothes are dumped in hallways, bathroom floors and the clothes fairy collects them) that need to be checked for size and put away in cupboards that now have boxes piled in front of them.
But the boyfriend is coming over and he has never seen her room and in all probability it will be so ruined soon that he may never get another chance. And the baskets of found clothes have been put in the theatre room for the clothes fairy’s convenience, teens have a very strange idea of what is convenient.
Which brings me to today. Today the boyfriend is visiting! Suddenly the child who had been quite happy to lob underwear on to bookshelves at the entrance to the house; presumably to give the clothes fairy a fun challenge, can not tolerate the presence of clean laundry in view. And he is due in 15 minutes. I had to talk to my mother so I ordered her sisters to help her clean up. I returned to a clean house, well clean by teen standards; remember:
Until I went into my room!
Poor Charlie took one look and fled back to his protector.
Orion was made of sterner stuff, he rushed in to secure the area while I stood at the entrance in shock.
My husband asked me why I was taking a photograph of our room and shouldn’t I wait until he cleaned it up. I told him about the post Has the Clothes Fairy Exploded?
“The clothes fairy may be dead!”
“No,” he replied weakly “but I’m feeling very weak and shaky!”
I warned little Miss Teen about this blog:
“Cool!” she said. “Don’t worry I’ll make them clean it up later!”
Isn’t she sweet?
Okay, sweetish in an evil kind of way!