Monday, November 28, 2011


Amy and I are both neat freaks. We like things in order, and don't remember a time when we weren't like this. Our kids, who are not ours biologically, clearly don't share this aspect of us, either through nature or nurture.

Thanksgiving weekend has become the time of the year that we purge their floor, making huge piles of trash, recyclables, and donations. This year was no different. It felt good to see their floor restored to some semblance of order.

It lasted all of six hours. The kids made a mess, failed to clean it up, and then somehow failed to get on it even though I tore a fire in their ears out of exasperated anger. Theyarethisclose to getting no toys for Christmas: why should they get more stuff when they can't take care of the stuff they already have?

It hasn't been our best parenting moment, as we frantically cycle through despair, pleading, bribery, threats, carrots, sticks, and visual cues. I kind of want to ask the parents out there if they have any bright ideas, but I have a feeling I'm going to just despise you if you share an insight with me because I'll wish your kids' neatness and discipline for myself. If there is any consolation, it is Monday morning and I can return to the neatness of my desk at work.
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