Ok, I know I can't be the only one who's ever dealt with two (or more) little human tornadoes. Here I have a 15 month old and a 4 year old. I spend the entire day, except quiet/nap time cleaning, running interference and attempting to stop them from tearing the whole apartment down! My 15 month old is a little copy cat and quite the climber. She can climb twice her height, opens almost any drawer or cabinet and loves to carry clothes around. I have no idea what is clean and what is dirty because she mixed them up! She loves to pull things out, put things back in and repeat. I gave her an entire drawer and cabinet that she can stuff and such, but she wants them ALL! When you add in my four year old *nothing* is safe. He can get anywhere and has taught his little sister how to push things around and use them to climb. He keeps getting into my stuff and throws that around or breaks it, ect. The last two days he has decided to throw everything in his room, including plastic shelves and buckets, into his closet creating quite a mountain of mess. They don't play with their toys much other than throwing them around the room, however they love the cardboard boxes we have left from our move across the country. By the end of the day, despite my picking up after them ALL day I'm still left with an overwhelming mess.
Now, I know some say it sounds like normal kid behavior and I guess I should just deal with it, but I can't think or do anything else with the house a mess. I have wanted to make Christmas presents, but I can't! We were going to make Christmas ornaments to decorate the tree (ours got left), but as my dh pointed out I was off cleaning, again. I seriously don't know what to do, so any ideas? And as far as our families are concerned the kids are out of control, and I'm beginning to agree. I've been at a loss since we have my sweet dd. I love them both so very much, but they're quite an act of nature.
Thank for the support and ideas
Can you create a 'safe space' for yourself? One room that is totally off-limits (preferably locked during the day!) so you can always escape to somewhere when you need a calm environment to get things done or just have some mental peace? Maybe your bedroom or something....
Can you get rid of (or put in storage) a lot of their toys? If they aren't really playing with them anyway, they won't miss them, and theoretically they might use them more appropriately if there are less of them... but even if they continue dumping them all, at least there will be less to clean up!
It also sounds like you aren't yet 100% settled from your move? If there are still boxes hanging around & stuff (If so, I don't blame you, I moved 5 years ago & still haven't unpacked everything lol). But maybe if they are sensing that their environment is out of order, they feel the need to make it even more crazy? I notice that in DS sometimes... if everything is very orderly he has an easier time with it...
I love the idea of a safe space! Right now the only room with a lock is the bathroom. Strange, huh? We're unpacked from our move, but kept the boxes because we will be moving again next month and the kids really have fun with them (they are flat).
I feel bad getting rid of any more of their toys because I have a ton of my own stuff that takes up space. For some reason its easier for me to give away their stuff and not mine, then I feel bad =/ However, we do keep putting away their toys anyway. We took away 90% of the legos because we were stepping on them and they weren't being put away. I'm sick of the train track because ds gets mad at dd for messing it up, then it sits untouched till dd throws it around. Ds plays with his vehicles the most.
Dh said he's take them for a little bit this weekend and let me work in the apartment. Hopefully I can accomplish something and find some order. I'm feeling very blue, lonely and overwhelmed, which does not help the situation.
All that's really helped me has been time. My girls (esp. 5yo dd2) really are human tornadoes. Mainly, they make the messes playing their games. Sure, put one game away before another, sure, yeah.... *if* you are there to supervise and *if* the game doesn't involve 3 all rolled into one. I don't have a lot of fight in me. BUT I had an amazing garden this year, and I've had time to do some incredible things because the girls are getting less needy. And *sometimes* dd2 puts her games away without asking. They finally don't thrown bits of trash on the floor.
In our house, it seems that if get a handle on one area, another suffers. I've been focussing on dishes, laundry, keeping track of shoes, mittens, keeping the table neat and ready for meals. But the toys go berserk. If I focus on the toys, the kitchen is a mess. The girls are on board helping one day, and fight against it on the next with no explanation as to why today is different than yesterday.
I'm not saying do nothing, it will all pass. I'm saying, whatever you do, realize it can be a long process when you are a busy mama with 2 little ones. Aim for the long view, instead of making it all right every day, every week. Personally, I find that exhausting and I can never maintain it for more than a month or so. One round of colds, one busy week, 3 nice days in a row that convince you to do your work outside instead of the mess inside..... then it takes 3 weeks to get things back in order if I'm lucky.
Now I know why grandmas' houses are always so damn tidy! They get really good at it after all those kids......
"She is a mermaid, but approach her with caution. Her mind swims at a depth most would drown in."
If you can manage it, getting lots of outside play time can help. It's tough at this time of year, because there's so much to do inside. Going outside won't really help you to finish your holiday baking and present-making. You can't houseclean while you are outside (although it may minimize some of the kids' messes inside). You'll still be supervising their playtime. I always found it helped my sanity though - lots of fresh air and exercise kept us all in a better frame of mind.
The 4 y.o. is definitely old enough to be learning some consequences of his actions. If he makes a mess, he has to help clean it up before he can move on to the next activity. It isn't easy to enforce consequences and it will requires time and attention from you, so it won't help your immediate problem - which is that you want to get other stuff done but you have to supervise and clean up after the children. In the long run, though, you will all benefit because he will learn to help out.
If you can manage it, can you find a little help - perhaps a teenager to play with them for an hour or two in the afternoon. It will allow you do some housecleaning or baking. Or maybe find another family and take turns with playdates a couple of days per week. That little bit of time may make a big difference in your outlook.