How to exploit natural consequences and get free child labor

School is out for Good Friday today and Niko took off, so naturally we laid around looking at all the Easter circulars in the paper as we drank a 3-hour cup of coffee. It was our pretend Sunday since real Sunday this week will involve inlaws and itchy clothing. Bee was begging for everything she saw in the ads. Peeps! Princess dolls! Some plastic thing that looked like a blue alien? I was like, “well, your birthday is in December”. Sorry, our Easter bunny brings consumable items like bubbles and chalk because our basement is filled with enough plastic crap as it is.

She really wanted that toy though. Bee’s five, so December is basically like the year 2023 to her. So I bluffed. To get her to stop whining I said, “or you could earn the money by cleaning the basement”.

Our basement is to the point I won’t let company see it anymore. That’s where I banish the kids every afternoon and they act like monkeys in the zoo down there, throwing dress-up costumes and building towers that only get like five blocks high before someone just has to swing their fist into her sister’s work. Books are strewn, every piece of wooden food is in a different corner, the dolls are all naked. Fine. I just stay out.

Our house is like the seven layers of hell getting progressively messier as you go down. Our beds are as tight as drums, the main floor is within 20-minutes of being company ready and our basement is like the junk lady scene in Labyrinth.┬áThere’s no way anyone can clean that.

My kid disappeared for two hours.

And organized the crap out of it.

I wish I had a before picture. There’s a floor now! The shelves are full and the tables are empty! Who even knew she was capable of that kind of a massive project? All it needed was a sweep with a vacuum when she was done. Amazing.

I’m happy to have a clean basement and leverage next time she tries to act like she can’t make the bed or put away laundry. Of course I’ve set a bad precedent that her effort is going to cost me toys, but at least I have some child labor now. She weighs 38 pounds. You think she can help me move the couch to dust? Also, I’m going to need some tile grouted this summer.

She and her dad are at the toy store right now getting that damn whatever it is. I’ll update this with a picture of her and her glory as soon as they get home. I cannot believe that little shit called my bluff. Oh well.

She earned it!

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Filed under: Raising sisters

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