Monday, November 10, 2014

Cleanerishing your house with kids in 10 easy steps

How to make your house cleanerish with children:

As a service to all the parents out there that would like to attempt to regain some control over the state of their living conditions, I’ve compiled some tried and true ideas and tips. For the record, I’m releasing myself from any liability including, but not limited to: accidents, permanent damage to your home, or emotional scarring.

Step 1: Have your kids put on the most ill-fitting, stained, and worn-out clothes they have.

Step 2: Tell the kids that the floor is the ocean and the broom is a shark. They have to stay on the chair “islands”. Slowly take the chairs away while you sweep until you have just enough chairs to accommodate the small, broom-afraid-now, screaming children. Chase them with the broom sometimes so they don’t notice you’re trying to get something done.

Step 3: Now it’s time to break out your collection of lone socks and socks full of holes. (Helpful hint: kids without socks will totally wipe-out on the floor here in a minute, and as entertaining as that can be, it’s hard to clean while sitting in the ER.) Have the kids put socks on their hands and feet. Fill a mop bucket with dish detergent, water, and a little food coloring (enough to make bubbles for the baby to be entertained by, and enough to make it taste bad but look cool). Throw some sponges and scrub-brushes on the floor. Blow some bubbles into the air and play some music for the “bubble party” to dance to. Thanks to the food coloring, you can point out all the spots they missed. (Helpful hint: Drink some wine while you blow bubbles, but not so much that you think you want to demonstrate break-dancing.) If they start to get tired before the floor is clean, give them some candy (sugar = cleaner floor).

Step 4: Now that your kitchen floor is soaking wet, and your kids are covered in colored, nasty floor-water, have them strip to their underwear and use their old clothes to sop up the pools of soapy water. When they get that done, tell them you’re a witch and you’re going to put them in a soup. Fill up the bathtub and make them get in it to “brew”. Add toys, bubble bath, and wash rags like they are “ingredients”. Tell them if they get out you will eat them.

Step 4: Cackle like a crazy woman while you scour the mirror, sink and toilet. Drink some wine so you don’t notice you’re trying to get something done. Let them throw water everywhere and don’t say a word to stop them. After you get them out and dry them off, have them clean up the floor water with the damp, used towels.

Step 6: So now you’ve cleaned the kitchen floor, the children, and the entire bathroom.  After the kids are redressed, ask if they want to make soup for the evil witch. They can add the wet clothes, towels and detergent to the washer and start laundry. (Helpful hint: Supervision is the key to having your children help with laundry or cooking tasks. Not only can they cut or burn themselves (or the house down) but you don’t want to wonder hours later… “Hrm…where’s the cat?”) When it’s time to switch the laundry, you can be putting the “food” (clothes) in the “oven” (dryer).

Step 7: When the “food” is done in the dryer, teach them how to make “loaves of bread” from the towels. Put the old clothes from that load in a pile and give them scissors to cut them into dusting rags. When they get done, give them a rag each. Get it a bit damp with water, and have a series of contests to see who can get it the dirtiest in one minute. Every time someone wins they get a tally mark that equals one cookie. (Helpful hint: Make sure everything that they haven’t already broken has been packed away in storage or sold on Craigslist.) Children that cry or whine or fight over dirty spots loose a cookie tally mark. Be sure and point out the corners and hard-to-reach places for the littlest ones.

Step 8: Now that the house is dusted, the floors mopped, the bathroom scoured, the kids bathed, the laundry done…tell them you think it’s now safe for the most “EVIL OF WITCHES HERSELF” to come inspect. Tell the kids they better pick up their rooms before she gets there.

Step 9: While they are up cleaning their rooms, call your mom. Tell her the kids really lover her and miss her and you were wondering if she would like to come over and bake cookies with them. (Helpful hint: Be sure and mention that you have some wine at the house if she would like some.)

Step 10: Relax. Light a scented candle. Casually do the dishes while you wait for your mom to arrive to find you totally in control, your angelic children diligently cleaning their rooms. Everything is under control. Double-check to make sure you can find the cat.

Stay tuned for my next post entitled: “How vacuuming my house cost my son years of therapy”.