I think I've said this before, but each morning when Lucy and Elaine wake up, they're supposed to get dressed, brush their hair, brush their teeth, make their beds, and straighten up their room.
The success of this plan is fair to middling, especially the "straighten up the room" part. Pretty much every day it's a disaster. Then I walk in, my head spins around a few times, and I say some variation of, "I'm confused. How is this clean? Get it done. Now." and walk away. Sometimes I think "Clean your room," might be engraved on my tombstone, but it will have to find room below "Fasten Your Seatbelt," and "Ladies Don't Eat Like Pigs at the Trough."
Then a few minutes later, I find the girls elsewhere in the house and I ask, "Is your room clean?" and, wide-eyed and innocent, they claim, "Yes, Mama, we cleaned it, we really did!" And it looks exactly.the.same. I can only believe that either a) they're trying to gaslight me, or b) they're the worst room cleaners in the world. I'm just more comfortable with Option b.
For example, here's their bookcase. Seriously. This is how they put books away, if they put them away at all.
I won't show you what the rest of the room looks like--I actually think I did that once before on this blog, and also Darren wonders why I keep exhibiting our shame on the Internet. I go in about once a week and fix the havoc they have wreaked. Here's the bookcase after I'm done with it:
Now, this is a complete side note, but see the top shelf? Here's a parental recommendation for you if you don't already do this. Get audiobooks for your kids, no matter how young they are. Someone (who doesn't read this blog) was telling me recently that each of their kids--same age as mine--have a TV in their room, and every night they go to sleep watching a movie. I'm not one of those no-TV people, but that's just sad to me. Audiobooks are a great way to fall asleep--and it helps your kids obtain a much higher reading comprehension level than they would normally on their own. Plus, they're just fun. So whether you download books on your iPod or your Kindle or whether you kick it old school with a CD player and CDs like we do, it's a great investment. I could do a whole post on my favorites, and maybe I will someday.
In the middle of my cleaning the bookcase yesterday, Elaine came to get me.
"C'mere, Mom, you gotta see my dolls. They're all at school," she said as she grabbed my hand. Now notice this--because their room is a pit and I am cleaning it, she is now messing up the guestroom. Gah.
Here are her dolls at school:
Wait a minute, what is this?
That's Elena. She's the doll Elaine got for her first birthday. Lucy named her, so it's not quite as narcissistic as it sounds. But what kind of mother lets her child go to school with hair like that? And naked to boot? This must be remedied.
So I take a break from book organizing to assist this poor creature.
Suffice it to say, this often happens while I'm cleaning their room. The state of their dolls' hair and attire would shock you. It just can't go on. Then they (the girls, not the dolls, but really, who knows??) are so happy when I've fixed them up.
"How do you know how to do this?" Lucy asks. "You are awesome at fixing dolls, Mom. Did you take lessons?"
Of course I did, right between Literary Criticism and a seminar on James Joyce. Those haven't gotten me that far in life, so maybe with Lucy's praise it's something I should be adding to my resume soon.
After the doll dressing and bookcase cleaning, Elaine came back in the room because hey, who doesn't want to play in a clean room? The better to mess it up again. She wanted to pose in front of the bookcase with her favorite book. I think you'll agree that the resemblance is uncanny.
Now maybe some of you might be reading this and saying, "Hey Alice, sounds like you're a 41-year-old who plays with dolls." And to you I say, "From henceforth, I would like it to be referred to as styling."
So, if you have any dilapidated dolls needing such styling or bookcases needing organizing, please contact me. My references are impeccable, and my salary should be commensurate with my vast experience. I'll be waiting for your call.