Now that we have moved into a bigger home and are getting settled in, we have been trying to give the kids more responsibility. They each have weekly chores to do, and while sometimes these are met with wailing and gnashing of teeth, the kids are getting more and more adjusted to the idea that they, too, must clean up after themselves.
Joshua is actually the least of these complainers, because Joshua likes order. He likes things to be in place. If he had his own room, it would be clean most of the time. (It's his little brother who is the King of Chaos.) He also genuinely likes his main chore, which is to clean the bathroom. He's also been the one to take us up on our offer of some paying jobs. We have a few gigs around the house that we have offered to the kids as a way to earn some extra spending money. Joshua recently earned a door-hanging basketball goal for his efforts. Hard worker, that one.
And yet...I cannot help but notice that an 8 year old boy's version of "clean" and his mother's version of clean seems to have some wide discrepancies. Joshua will swear up and down that a room is clean, and he isn't lying - it really is clean in his eyes. It's just really, really not in mine.
To that end, I have created the following list, An 8 Year Old Boy's Guide to Cleaning:
1. If you don't actually see the dirt, then it's not actually there. Therefore the fastest way to clean a room is to take a sideways glance at it. Out of sight, out of mind, not on floor.
2. The stuff that's been pushed to the edges of a room doesn't really count. Only the expanse in the middle of the floor is important.
3. Touching dirt or other items with a broom or other such cleaning device counts as having cleaned it. The actual removal of the dirt is unnecessary. For further clarification, see rule #1.
4. If you sweep a room, you get to count it as swept and done as soon as you make that little dirt pile in the middle of the room. Sweeping THAT up into a dustpan is just window dressing.
5. When swatting flies in the house during the summertime, it is perfectly acceptable - even admirable - to leave their little carcasses littered on the floor as evidence of your great victories.
6. When clearing the table, you don't actually have to clear EVERYTHING off the table. Just most of it. You know, to get the general idea.
7. Toothpaste on the bathroom mirror is a permanent fixture and not necessary to wipe off.
8. When you have cleaned the bathroom, you are done once you have doused everything in cleaner. Drying the fixtures and putting away the cleaning supplies is superfluous.
9. It makes absolute and total sense to sweep the floor and THEN wipe off the counters. Don't let anyone try to talk some nonsense about those crumbs you knocked on the floor. If you don't look down, they aren't really there. (See rule #1 again)
10. If at first you don't succeed...disappear into the backyard where Mom can't find you. Chances are she will get tired of these "teachable moments" and just redo the job herself.
And yes...that has happened.