It was another typical weekend at our house. Outside, the birds are chirping and lawnmowers are humming. Inside, one kid’s screaming and the other’s running in circles, bumping into the other one each time he passes her. Mommy’s making a much needed coffee in the kitchen while I navigate the landmine-like field of toys strewn across our floors towards her.
“Good morning” she says, a smile about to creep across her face when all of a sudden her eyes go wide. “FFFF—udggggsicle!“, I blurt out, as I connect the reason for her expression with the stabbing pain in my foot. I look down to see that a plastic star shaped toy has forcefully mated with it. I hop around awkwardly as I continue to silently mouth words that no child under 25 should hear.
Young children are mostly destroyers, happiest when they’re sitting in the centre of a makeshift ball pit of their own creation using all the toys you’ve just put away.
When I’m finally able to speak again, I tell the kids to clean up their toys. I even throw in an “or else!” at the end. You can imagine how thrilled I was then, that after my command, I watched as my daughter continued screaming and my son kept on running. My words had no effect, maybe because my daughter’s perfectly pitched screaming was the best white noise machine ever. Or, more likely, because we’d never actually taught them to clean up and they thought Daddy was excitedly cheering them on.
Deciding it was time to put my foot down–without the fear of stepping on tiny weapons of mass destruction–I turned to Google for help. I typed “How to Get Your Kids to Clean Up Without Killing Them”, the end of which I quickly changed to “Without Losing Your Mind” as my wife walked over. A tap of the enter key and there were the tips and tricks I hoped to tattoo on my children’s foreheads–just kidding, of course.