House of Literature Bookmobile

This is the place I share book (movie) selections and reviews I have found worth mentioning. I'll also share gleanings of family life, faith, home education, and ongoing writing projects. Book selections will include children's books, books on home education, Catholic books, classics, series, raising children, and books that are made for reading under a shady oak tree with lemonade, in a bubble bath with a latte', or next to a snuggly fireplace with a cup of hot cocoa. Happy Reading!

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Resilient Children

I spent the major part of this afternoon cleaning my two youngest girls' bedroom. Despite the fact I cleaned the girls' room right before Christmas, a mere three months later it was at its worst. I went in their room armed with a strong conviction to declutter, dejunk, detoy, etc.

My three older children have older toys, older everything. They have no desire for junky fast-food toys or cheap plastic toys that break or rubbery-made items from the dollar store. Their rooms might not be any cleaner, but everything in their rooms have a purpose.

The younger girls' room looks like a toy factory.

I held true to my commitment. I filled up the trash can outside which won't be emptied for another week. All was quiet and peaceful while I cleaned. I was not interrupted or pestered. It was a nice experience.

Then in walked the seven-year-old. Her first question was, "Momma, where's the doll whose eyes don't close?"

"You mean the one with paint across her forehead, nail polish on her body, and no clothes on?"

"Yeah. Where is she?"

We found her in the trash.

In walked the three-year-old who instictively knew something was amiss. Both girls both looked around aimlessly with a perplexed look on their faces. "Momma," said the seven-year-old, "what are we suppose to play with?"

I waved my hand at a full closet, a full toybox, and a dollhouse. "You'll play with what's here. Anything broken, torn, painted on, old, or not played with got thrown out. You still have lots to play with." I gave a comforting pat to the head nearest me and went back to work, leaving the girls to ponder their fate.

They heard the commitment in my voice and began to play. It was strange to watch them in that neatly decluttered room. There was nothing in the corners or under the bed or hiding under other toys on the floor. But they could not seem to find anything worth playing with. Every now and then a head would bob up, look around, then attempt to find something to play with.

It was more a case of re-evaluating the room, accepting the new standard, re-finding the equipment, and re-wiring their way of thinking.

I was at the television going through a Mt. Everest of video tapes and DVDs. The three-year-old moved closer to me while prattling about broken toys and asking where various favorite stuffed animals were. I salvaged a musical Barney who now sounded like a very sick purple dinosaur instead of the perky musician he is.

My 3-year-old occasionally came up to me with these directions, "Mommy, you don't touch my baby doll. O-tay?" or "Mommy, you don't touch my blanket. O-tay?" The first part was said in matter-of-fact command. The last part was a worried, guarded precaution against discipline and against the threat of Mommy not understanding the command.

In the end, the only thing the girls truly admired was the television stand. There were no longer any videos stacked around it or lying on the floor. And the accordian door could be shut perfectly over the videos that were recushioned inside their designated boxes.

The room has already been played in and the girls are now back at the kitchen table doing artwork.

I've always heard that children are resilient.


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