Two things I’m struggling with right now, as Sergeant Mom, is toy room clean-up and meal-times. I won’t even mention bedtime because that’s a whole other post unto itself.
My girls, the wee ones, love to play. Who doesn’t? They’re kids. I get that. I don’t really care about mess when they play because mess is just a result of having a good time, no? Of course.
What frustrates me to no end is that my girls never want to clean up any mess they make once their play is done. Have you seen the tornado that hits their playroom when they play? I’m pretty sure I vented about it on Twitter at some point.
Here, I’ll show you ….
Is this really necessary to play? Is it more fun to dump everything out? I clearly don’t understand the mentality behind it … yes, they’re 4 and 6 but still.
I know they don’t do this at school. They wouldn’t dare disappoint their teachers or want their teachers to see them this way. ( I took the photo to use as collateral.)
Once done with playing and I ask them to clean up, I hear this all the time …
1. “Oh, I’m SO tired! Can I do it later?”.
2. “Little H made all the mess, not me!”.
3. “No, Little B made the mess mommy, not me!” (batting eyelashes of big blue eyes and sporting the cutest face ever)
To which I reply, ” Both of you, go and clean the mess now … together”.
There is often whining, complaining and even tears. It’s like pulling teeth. The girls and cleaning just don’t mesh. I often have to get down on my knees with them and help out while commanding who cleans what. Ugh. Sometimes, I end up doing just as much cleaning as them if not more.
Then there are meal times … my least favourite part of the day. Besides the girls having complete opposite tastes in food, they never sit still at the table. I seriously cannot keep them sitting and eating at the table longer than a few minutes without them getting up to
a) go to the washroom
b) blow their nose
c) play with the french door curtains
d) change their cutlery from a fork to a spoon to a big fork to a big spoon to getting a straw.
e) say they’re full after only eating a quarter of their meal.
f) go to the washroom again.
It takes all of my strength to remain patient so I can keep them at the table eating and avoid any drama. I’ve often wondered how I could tie them to the chairs.
But one day, I tried something new and it worked!
Sergent Mommy turned into Olga.
My Italian grandmas, (rest their souls) came back to life in me.
Almost instantly, I had my girls attention. They sat up straight in their chairs and they were definitely wondering why I was talking with an accent and who I was trying to be.
I introduced them to Olga and told them she was a Nanny. I went on to say that their mom was tired and is resting and that Olga is here to take over while mommy takes a break.
While Olga spoke and encouraged them to eat their food, she told them a story about what it was like when she was little. Olga continued with little stories about where food was gathered, how it was made and who did the cooking and why. She even talked about the rules she had to follow when she was little. The girls hung on to every word.
Before I knew it, not only was Olga’s storytelling holding their attention and getting the girls to eat their food but it was also teaching them about the lives of my grandmas. Thank goodness I listened to all of their stories while growing up.
By the time their dinner was all eaten and it was time to clear the table, a part of me felt sad that my grandmas weren’t alive today to tell their own stories to my girls. Another part of me felt grateful that I had listened to their stories when I had the chance. I never realized just how many stories about them I held close to my heart.
And now, my girls are getting to know my grandmas through stories they hear via Olga.
As it turns out, Olga was a bit hit! My girls always ask when she’s coming back to visit us and I always say she pops in whenever she wants to surprise us and we just never know when that will be.
But mommy knows, that Olga only comes when mommy needs help.
Thank you Grandma G and Grandma B for the inspiration to create Olga and for all of the wonderful stories you told me about your lives while I was growing up.
I miss you.