Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bad Lady

That's it.  I've had it.  I clean and reorganize and put away, repeat, and repeat again, and still - every single day following quiet time - the room in its toy entirety has turned into some kind of a mishmash between a crazed Pre-K fire sale and a (toy) Woodstock.

And it doesn't get put back - none of it.  Forget being put back even a little bit similar to the way it was found - no, it doesn't get put back at all.  Not at all.  Okay, if I stand there and become a skirted drill sergeant, then some of the toys might get put away.  Sort of.  But there's always too much yelling.  And too many tears.  And - we're one step closer to the neighbors calling social services.  (Okay, I'm joking about that last part.  Sort of.)

So today I had it.

I picked up the toys myself. 

But instead of putting them carefully back in the closet, in an only-the-way-a-mommy-will organized manner, in a way easiest to be taken out by sweet small hands and happily played with, I wickedly put the toys away in MY room.  (At this time, I won't go into how there really is no room at all in MY room for any kind of extra anything.  Because I've had it.  So into my room they go.  Like a strange assortment of adorable refugees.)

At first, Siennalee is wearing a small, happy smile.  Mommy is cleaning for her!  She won't have to pick up her awful mess after all.  Victory.  Then the awful truth dawns on her - assisted by me pointing out the details to the obvious, of course - the toys are not going to be accessible to her.  Not for a long while.

Her little brow furrows and she continues - painstakingly, infinitesimally - with her own little chore of re-folding (I'm inserting an expressive cough here) and putting away the clothes she has yanked out of her drawers, tried on, and discarded in a messy piles around the room.

"Mommie," she finally says to me, heavily, "you shouldn't take away my toys like this.  It- it feels like you are a bad lady." 

A poignant and mother-daughter-dramatic moment hushes over us both.

Now, the "bad guy" and the "bad lady" really are key players in our little world right now.  Siennalee is beginning to understand that not everyone in the big world around us is loving and kind and keeps the best intentions at heart.  She has been very impacted by the mere idea of the bad guy.  Sometimes she opts out of watching a show that might give too much attention to the bad guy.  But me, Mommie?  A bad lady?  Well, yeah, I guess so.  The villains on her kiddo shows are always doing dastardly deeds like pilfering toys and pocketing fluffy puppies. 

And now, Mommy is doing the same thing.

So when her little brow furrows now, I can tell she's really feeling this, not just saying it as any kind of jab or to get a reaction. 

"A bad lady?" I prod.

"Yes, a bad lady.  And," she adds, now with more feeling, "it's not fair."

I look down at her.  She looks back up at me with the quizzical, contemplative look of a four-year-old really thinking life out.

Not only am I a Bad Lady.  But it's not fair.

I choke back the laugh elbowing its way out of my throat and I lean down to the same level as her little face - "It's not fair?"

"No.  It's not fair."

"Do you think, Sweetheart, that it's fair for a mommy to work very hard all day to take care of her sweetheart, to feed her and play with her sweetheart, then to have to spend the rest of the day again cleaning up all the toys that her sweetheart played with - not the mommy played with - that the sweetheart played with and junked?"

She became thoughtful, "No."  Then she added, "but you still shouldn't take away my toys."

So hello, era of "Not Fair."  I, the Bad Lady, will see your bet - and raise you a pile of unorganized toys.

Update: the toys and some books are still refugees in my room (aka, the Motherland), but they now have hope of returning to the homeland (aka, the Sweetheartland).  Siennalee is slowly "earning" the right to free a toy by doing small "clean-up" tasks through the day.  And just this morning, she cleaned up several puzzles - a daunting task - all by herself and thus earned back two toys to keep her company during today's quiet time.  As I type this, I have yet to again be referred to as a Bad Lady, but Siennalee did find my sketch above to be quite apropos.


Hancock Family said...

OMG did you draw that picture of that bad bad lady? lol It's so funny picturing that being you with a bag full of toys headed to "motherland"

Rebekah said...

Excellent post!

Jen Rouse said...

I love it! The story, the drawing, all of it.

I have done the toy-take-away thing many times...so many that maybe it's not that effective anymore...although they do still freak out when they see me coming in with the trash bag.

Blue Cotton Memory said...

Your picture of the Bad Lady is awesome! So sorry to hear you are entering "the" stage. My sister-in-law, mother of 4 sons, told me when they ask if you are, just say you can be meaner! LOL I LOVE how you handled the problem - and the "fairy tale" imagery you used. Lucky you!!I'm in blood and guts imagery land!