Their rooms are beyond messy. They’re shin-deep in toys and trash. There is no horizontal surface that is not covered in clutter. At night the slow scraping of junk keeps me awake as the tidal pull of the moon drags it back and forth across the floor.
Drastic measures had to be taken. I made up a list specifying what I consider to be “a clean room,” handed one to each of the boys, and declared “There shall be no computer time until your rooms meet these criteria.”
Governments suggesting increased taxes have met with less resistance. There was groaning, cajoling, bargaining and dirty looks. One went into his room for five minutes and came out declaring it was all clean now. I didn’t even bother to go look. The other one spent a lot of time shoving things back and forth across the floor, scowling and grumbling refusals when I offered to pitch in and help.
That evening my husband heard the rumblings of rebellion from the trenches when he got home.
“They can’t go on the computer until their rooms are clean,” I told him.
He adopted an expression of mock horror. “That’s terrible! You’re such a cruel parent!”
“I know. I’m surprised they haven’t called Child Protective Services.”
From the other room, my eldest chipped in, “I don’t know their number.”