Radical Unschoolers Who are Messy: but Hate Criticism - Page 2 - Mothering Forums

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#31 of 51 Old 01-28-2008, 10:30 PM
 
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Where's the love for the poor 6 year olds of the world??

They get reamed in schools for being impulsive, and now the homeschooling mommies are selling them up the river.

People people...just how much is a 6 year old child supposed to understand about life and adult insecurities?


--I'd just tell her that she's being impolite.
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"I'd never come into your home and say unkinds things to you, so please don't come into our home and say unkind things to us."---
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#32 of 51 Old 01-28-2008, 10:35 PM
 
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Where's the love for the poor 6 year olds of the world??

They get reamed in schools for being impulsive, and now the homeschooling mommies are selling them up the river.

People people...just how much is a 6 year old child supposed to understand about life and adult insecurities?


--I'd just tell her that she's being impolite.
or
"I'd never come into your home and say unkinds things to you, so please don't come into our home and say unkind things to us."---
I'm not being mean, just informing her since no one's done it yet. It's rude to comment on people's appearance, and on their homes. A 6yo is certainly old enough to told this. It's better than the poor kid having no idea why her invitations to your home are gradually getting less frequent until they stop alltogether. Eventually the OP's dd is going to have had enough of it.

Heather married to my highschool sweetheart 6/7/02 :cop: Mother to Dani age 14 and Timmy age 10 Nadia 1/29 :
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#33 of 51 Old 01-28-2008, 10:44 PM
 
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I don't feel comfortable with assumptions about what this little child was actually thinking
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#34 of 51 Old 01-28-2008, 10:59 PM
 
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Sorry I didn't read all the replies so I might be duplicating, but I don't think the other kids think there is anything wrong with the messy house or they probably wouldn't ask so many questions about it. I think if there was a judgment made by one of them about you or your cleanliness situation that is where the discreet comments start. I will outright ask somebody any question about themselves or anything else as long as I just want the answer, and I usually shut up if I am feeling judgmental because I would hate to come across that way, or it would be uncomfortable talking about it. It isn't my job to figure out how you feel about it, of course you can always decline to answer.

I have people stop by all the time (I'm in town, as opposed to rural where most people live here) and I just cringe and apologize the whole time they are here because I can't get over how messy my house is. You go girl- but some people just don't like mess.
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#35 of 51 Old 01-28-2008, 11:31 PM
 
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meowmix -- what your son did doesn't seem offensive to me. Like you, in such a situation I'd talk with my child about how such remarks can sometimes hurt others' feelings, but I wouldn't assume he was doing it to put others down. There've been times when a very small child has commented about my mess, or told me my thighs were fat (it happened when swimming, I don't normally display my fat thighs!) -- and I just took it as a very small child making an observation.

I can't exactly put it into words -- but dd's friend's comments just felt more like intentional criticism, like she was really saying, "We're better than you!"

Still, she's just a kid ... dd really likes her ... and her mom is a very nice person as well. So I know I need to be the grownup here.
Since I haven't heard her directly, I can only assume.. But maybe her mother has instilled a strong value in her child that a house should be neat and tidy. And this has been interpreted by the child as "all houses should be neat and tidy and messy houses are wrong." I have never passed a "houses should be neat" judgement but I have for other things (sometimes unintentionally) and have had my children say some pretty rude things in the presence of others (thankfully strangers we don't have to see again!) because of something I have said previously (ie: I told the kids McDs was unhealthy and that's why we didn't eat there very much. It was junk food. They know too much junk food will make them feel ill. Hence, they concluded McDs will make them sick and everyone in the joint is making themselves sick by eating McDs. they made it known loud and clear the whole time we were in line that they would get sick from this awful junk and so would everyone else for eating junk food everyday. They weren't saying this politely, either. Or making observations. They were down on McDs and everyone in the place. ).

What would you do if your DD came to you with the same attitude? Couldn't you take the same approach with DD's friend?

Married, part time work from home mom to DS (13 and homeschooling), DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and a cute rat.
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#36 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 12:58 AM
 
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I wonder if part of it is the girl seeking to justify her family's way of doing things in her mind? That is, if your way of being and their way of being are both entirely valid, maybe she's starting to wonder why she has to spend so much time cleaning? If she doesn't like to clean, it's easier to accept if she can believe it's best. I can see a six-year-old grappling with that, definitely. My daughter's six, and has certainly worked through issues at least this complex. So perhaps she's challenging you. If you can't convince her that it's okay to be messy, her worldview and faith in her parents knowing best can remain comfortably unaltered.

Just a guess. In any case, my only real concern, like yours, would be that my daughter would be having to put up with unfair criticism and might internalize it as being valid (because it's coming from someone she likes and respects.) I'd be talking to my daughter about it, as well as just emphasizing to the other little girl that "everybody does and likes different things, and that's okay" etc as you were saying before.
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#37 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 02:13 AM
 
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I'd just tell her that she's being impolite.
or
"I'd never come into your home and say unkinds things to you, so please don't come into our home and say unkind things to us."

I think that's a little harsh for a 6 year old. I mean, that's still pretty little, and she's just talking about what she's seeing vs what she's used to living. I think it could be quite the shock at age 6 to learn that not every family lives like yours does. Well, I think kids that age are getting it, but it could be that this particular child hasn't had a lot of exposure to many homes that are different than hers.

It's all a part of growing up and figuring it out. For a 6 year old I'd just say something like has been mentioned in this thread: "Yeah, we do have some messes. Our house is just that way I guess. Every family is different. I'm glad you like your house." Or whatever. The point would be to not shame her, not to trip over yourself apologizing for your home. and to focus on how every family/person lives in their own way and style.

I like having a clean home, but it's never going to be spotless or perfectly organized, decorated, etc. And that's just fine with me. It's pretty much going to have to be fine with everyone who comes to visit too.

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#38 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 02:32 AM
 
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I think you are taking it a bit personal. If you are comfortable with the way your house is then why does the 6yo's opinion matter? Or is there a twinge of uncertainty there because the 6yo's comment hit a nerve with you?

Do you think the 6yo has enough life experience to really get that other people do things in a different way and it's socially unacceptable to comment on it?

I hope this doesn't come across rudely, but I'm just throwing that out there for you to consider.
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#39 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 03:20 AM
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It's hard to get "tone" in email sometimes, but it didn't sound to me like she was being snotty or rude about it... more curious, and maybe somewhat uncomfortable because it was so different than she was used to. I mean, it is hard to play sometimes when a room is too messy. I guess I wouldn't necessarily expect more social skills from a 6 year old - maybe your daughter is ahead of the pack in that regard? Or maybe it's just been a while since I had a 6 year old...

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#40 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You've all given me more great food for thought!

As to my dd, she doesn't seem overly concerned: She did mention that she'd like to get her room cleaned up before this friend comes again, and she knows I'm available to help her. There have sometimes been times when we've visited a very clean house and she's come home and said, "I wish our house was clean like that!"

But she hasn't asked me for a chore-chart or anything like that. She seems very happy and impressed whenever I tackle a room, and comments on how clean it looks when we're done. And she usually helps me some. I did get her room cleaned about two weeks ago, and she was thrilled.

Then she had 2 overnights (nice 24-hour visits) with one little girl (one who's happily not the least bit disturbed by mess -- but sadly she's moving away!). The morning after the 2nd overnight, dd's "neat" friend came unexpectedly for a visit (I'd misunderstood her mom about the dates and thought she was coming a week later).

Yeah, I don't think I need to read too much into dd's friend's comments -- just respond in the same way that I'd talk with my dd if she were saying things like that to others. I don't know if my dd's really "ahead of the game" -- I just think that maybe, as I mentioned last night, she's been aware from such an early age that other families are very, very different from us. Diversity isn't new to her!

When she was 3, I heard her asking a little playmate, "Do you still nursey?" and he was like, "What's that?" and she said, "Oh, you don't get to anymore?"
And later I explained that in our culture, most children are only nursed when they're tiny babies. And that her friends might feel sad to know she got to do something that they didn't.

And of course, she also noticed all the babies who were getting bottles, and I explained that some mommies don't get enough help learning to breastfeed (oversimplifying, I know), and that it might make the mommy sad to have people asking questions about why she's giving a bottle and not breastfeeding, so it's better just not to comment about that. And dd seemed to really get it, and just leave it alone (other than sometimes asking me about it when we were alone).

I'd been horrified a few years back, when the 7yo of a friend of mine pointed to a mama feeding a bottle at church and said, "Look, that's BAD!" Of course, I'm not saying dd's never gone and blurted other stuff out, such as telling people they shouldn't smoke ... but since she's almost always with me or her dad, we've just talked with her at the time, and she's seemed to get it and hasn't repeated the "same" thing in future.

As a toddler, dd used to get really upset whenever she was aware of other parents punishing their children, and she'd go up and hug them when they were crying in their time-outs, and so on. And there were one or two times when she asked a parent, "Why are you so mean to your child?" and we'd explain to dd that the parents were doing what they felt was right to teach their child ... it's not what we do, but it's what those parents feel is right. So, though it's probably not great that she's "used to" other parents being punitive -- long before now she kind of got that, too.

So I think dd's become more tolerant of diversity, simply by her constant awareness that we're most often the different ones.

I also think fourlittlebirds was on-target about dd's friend maybe trying to justify, in her mind, what her own family is doing. When she comes here, she's getting a first-hand picture of what things might be like (especially in her own much larger family) if there wasn't a lot of cleaning constantly going on.

I also think her responsibilities have greatly increased now that she's older, because when she's come in the past, her older sisters have sometimes said cr@p, but she's never seemed bothered by it before: she just played. But now that she's got more responsibility, she probably does think more about the whole cleaning issue.

I know she almost didn't get to come because of behavioral issues (and for them, behavioral issues seem to often be related to whether or not they're keeping up with their chores). So maybe she went home happy that she has chores, and happy that (in her own words), "My mom always makes us clean and that's why our house is always clean."

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#41 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 06:21 PM
 
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I'm not RU, but I' far from domestic. Ds1's best friend has made a few comments- the last time I was feeling snarky when he came out of the bathroom and said the ceiling had mold on it, i told him to clean it if it bothered him.
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#42 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 08:04 PM
 
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I think that's okay too. "oh, if the room is too messy to play in you guys could try picking up first, if you want." and then they will or they won't and it's all okay.
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#43 of 51 Old 01-29-2008, 10:22 PM
 
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I haven't read all the post.

and I assuming we are just talking about a little clutter and not piles big enough to hide a man, unsafe heaven knows what waiting to impale you or real live filth and odor (I have been in houses that were all three, no kidding).

and I say all of this gently and without any judgment. I am so not in a position to judge anyones house keeping

but I don't see how the little girl was being rude. I can totally see my five year old saying something like that. For her it would be just an observation. perhaps even an admiration or her way of sorting out something she doesn't understand. or her way of saying "hey this isn't working for me but I really want it to. can you clear a space to play somewhere? I thought you invited me over to play and there is no where to play?" Of course for my 5 year old she would just say "wow, this is messy" and expect you to fill in the rest. it is very likely she was just tying to wrap her head around it all. Some kids get very stressed out in chaos. especially if they are not used to it. It sounds like the little girl in question was a little disappointed too. If friend invited me over and there was no where to sit and relax, if it was unsafe or unsanitary for me to put my kids down or served me supper at a table piled with paper work and junk i probably would leave early and decline future invitations. what is the point of going if i can't be comfortable or can't enjoy the hospitality i was invited over for? how is that any different than being invited over to play and not being able to find a place to play or toys to play with? granted most 6 year olds just don't have the tact of grown ups do and so they blurt out things like "wow this is messy. . . messy in here too. . . .craziness. . . never seen a place messy like this before. . . .would you like to borrow our vacuum? " (of course this is hypothetical as I can't imagine any amount of clutter shocking my 5 year old. she would be more likely to say something like "wow . .why is it so clean in here? did your mom freak out and throw away all your toys?" )

You may be ok with clutter but you can't expect guests to be. We had several friends who were only allowed to play at our house or meet for public play dates because their homes were just too messy (and like I said, my standards are low. this was the piles, and real filth and impalement mentioned at the beginning of the post). So her honesty might actually help save the friendship. this is a good chance for you to dialog about other peoples expectations and hospitality and other peoples comfort levels and weather or not the effort is worth it. wouldn't you rather know that this is the reason she is uncomfortable coming over rather than her just declining play dates and leaving you to decide if she was offended by something and what? I know I could never tell someone "Oh ava doesn't want to play over there because it is messy and chaotic and she just can't deal with it". i would sooner die thanks so I would probably just make up some lame excuse. but at least now if she declines future invites you know why and you can decide weather or not you want to make it a comfortable situation for her in your home or if you would rather just make other arrangements for playing with her elsewhere, like a park or at her house. We have decided that some guests are too high maintenance. Others we make an effort for. but we can only decide if they are honest with us.

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#44 of 51 Old 01-31-2008, 10:58 AM - Thread Starter
 
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but at least now if she declines future invites you know why and you can decide weather or not you want to make it a comfortable situation for her in your home or if you would rather just make other arrangements for playing with her elsewhere, like a park or at her house. We have decided that some guests are too high maintenance. Others we make an effort for. but we can only decide if they are honest with us.
Right. Well, it hasn't caused her to decline invites in the past, and as I mentioned in a previous post, she always seemed to play happily however messy things were -- but now that she's got a bigger place on the chore-chart at home, she very likely is pondering all this more.

It's probably puzzling to her that dd is able to have a life whether she cleans house or not. Kind of like it's puzzling to more conventionally-schooled kids, when they learn that dd doesn't have to do any lessons. I mean, when you're raised to think that doing ABC is necessary before you can do the XYZ that you really want to do, you tend to think it's the only way. Otherwise, why on earth would your parents make you do it this way?

And now that this girl sees what can happen when parents don't make their kids clean (I'm not saying it's messy in all RU families, it's prob'ly more related to how neat the parents are), and also don't necessarily make themselves clean, maybe she went home thanking God and her lucky stars for her chore-chart!

Sometimes it's hard to know in advance exactly when this friend is coming. We'd originally thought she wasn't able to come due to behavioral problems (which in their house is often related to keeping up with chores), then I guess very late the night before, her mama sent me an e-mail but I'd already gone to bed. Then as we were waking up that morning, we heard a knock on the door and were pleasantly surprised.

It was so great that she got to come after all, dd was thrilled ... and I don't think one comment would have been so unnerving. It was more the fact that the comments continued throughout the day. I think I had said something like, "You guys can pick up if you want" -- but from appearances, it looks like the friend got over it without any compulsive need to straighten up.

So I guess we'll just see if she wants to come back. And go from there.

I certainly believe in making guests comfortable. The thing is, I also like for people to feel welcome to drop in without notice (which is kind of how the other day's visit happened).

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#45 of 51 Old 01-31-2008, 11:16 AM
 
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I think I had said something like, "You guys can pick up if you want" -- but from appearances, it looks like the friend got over it without any compulsive need to straighten up.

So I guess we'll just see if she wants to come back. And go from there.

I certainly believe in making guests comfortable. The thing is, I also like for people to feel welcome to drop in without notice (which is kind of how the other day's visit happened).
This thread is so timely for me. The one friend I mentioned who does this happened to visit during the course of this threads' existence. After he left, my kids and I had a conversation about making guests comfortable.

When vegan friends come, I make sure to have soy milk and other alternatives to dairy...when we have sleepovers, I pick up oj (something we're not big on, but apparently,most people we know are.) If I know someone is afraid of dogs, I keep our dog away from them, if someone is always cold, I'll turn up the heat...etc. etc. But just how far should a host be expected to go?

My house isn't a health hazard, I'm not putting anyone in danger due to my relaxed standards. HOwever, I don't feel so inclined to do a major cleaning when I'm expecting a guest who values a super-clean house, yk?

The kids and I came up with some silly extremes...(like, if a guest didn't like the color red, would you repaint your red living room before they came?) But in the end, we decided that we'd make guests feel as comfortable as possible without making ourselves uncomfortable in our own home.

I'm sure that as these kids get older, they'll learn what is and isn't appropriate to say while visiting. As a host, you'll never please everyone 100%, but there is also some responsibility on the part of guests (older guests, not the little ones we're talking about) to respect differences and appreciate whatever effort is made on their behalf.

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#46 of 51 Old 01-31-2008, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
 
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SagMom, you make such a good point! It really is a good idea to use experiences like this as a springboard to dialog with our children about how far we're willing to go for guests. I like the analogy about re-painting the living room if a particular guest doesn't like the color.

Well, to be completely honest, even though last week's visit was unexpected, sometimes I don't get round to cleaning even when I know a guest is coming. Sometimes I do. I generally try a little harder for people I know less well, and let my hair down with people who've already seen my mess and not been phased by it (or I've seen their mess and know they'll be comfortable).

One of my friends said her mom catches every illness there is, so she carries her own bottle of disinfectant, so she can clean up any bathroom she has to use away from home. Though it's kind of appealing to imagine someone like this coming over, and me noticing the bathroom is spotless after she's gone -- I imagine that'd be her one and only visit to my home. And of course, I wouldn't want anyone to get sick from visiting my home. I realize there is such a thing as compromised immune systems, and it's no joke for the people suffering.

We probably can't bend to the degree necessary to accommodate someone like this. And yet, I had a friend with full-blown HIV who came to visit me alot (he passed before I married and had my family), and he never seemed anxious about the germs in my house. But one woman living alone, even a messy like me, doesn't generate the same degree of mess as a messy with kids. So I don't even know if he'd have felt okay about coming to my home today.

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#47 of 51 Old 01-31-2008, 11:59 AM
 
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What an interesting thread! As for the 6 year old, if it gets to a point where your dd is bothered by the comments, I would probably take the little girl aside and explain as gently as possible that her observations are hurting her friend's feelings. My oldest can be pretty clueless about some social issues (though messy is normal to her, so she wouldn't comment on that), and so I have given her some very clear general guidelines, like "we don't discuss other people's appearance when we're out, unless you're complimenting them directly" (not that we sit around gossiping about people when we're home, just that I want her to feel free to ask me a question about, say, a man in a wheelchair, once we are certainly out of earshot.) This little girl might need someone to give her a similar clue.

Recently I was out with some women, and the subject of house-cleanliness came up. The woman with the uber-neat home ended up being put on the spot and essentially defend/explain having a tidy home. It was odd. So it goes both ways.

ZM

Edited to add a thought: It occurs to me that this girl may have felt like she was put in a situation where she needed to pick up other people's messes, and that could be the source of her pointed comments. If you are raised to believe that everyone is supposed to pick up after themselves to avoid inconveniencing whoever is next to use the space, walking into a messy space might feel disrespectful or as if someone was being inconsiderate to you and your needs in a way (KWIM? I don't think I'm phrasing it very well).
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#48 of 51 Old 01-31-2008, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Recently I was out with some women, and the subject of house-cleanliness came up. The woman with the uber-neat home ended up being put on the spot and essentially defend/explain having a tidy home. It was odd. So it goes both ways.

ZM
That's interesting! I guess most of the women I know, are apologetic about mess and admire women who seem to have it all together.

I realize that everyone has a different tolerance-level. Messy as I am, I have a hard time coping with strong odors. We're friends with a couple who love all kinds of animals, and usually keep a zoo in their small apartment. Sometimes someone persuades them to give away some of their pets, but they just end up bringing more home later.

It doesn't bug dh, and he's gone over on various occasions to fix their computer. Sometimes our 7yo has gone along, and she's enjoyed playing with the animals and doesn't seem at all bothered by the smell.

It's the kind of smell that clings to clothes, and when they come home I ask them to shower or at least change clothes before we snuggle up in the bed (I think I've told dd that it would hurt our friends if they knew I had them wash the smell off when they got home ... at least, she's never mentioned it to them). Dd accepts the smell as going hand-in-hand with having a bunch of fun animals -- definitely worth the cost to her!

The issue of me not visiting hasn't really come up: they seem happy to come visiting: they have so little money and spend so much to feed their animals, that they barely have enough to feed themselves, so I think they'd be overwhelmed at the thought of reciprocating hospitality and feeding other people. I was in their home briefly once while pregnant, and I think the lady was aware of me gagging and retching, and that I couldn't help it and I had to leave.

I hope she wasn't hurt: she seemed not to be. The way I see it, it's not that I'm right and they're wrong, but that they're doing what makes them happy: I can't take the smell for very long, but it they're happy in their home, what does it matter if I think it smells bad? They have no kids, so it's their own business if they want to spend so much on their animals. If they ever decide they want more human company, I guess they can find other animal-lovers who don't mind the strong smells, or make any adjustments they decide to make.

I realize that some very neat people might be repulsed in my home, in the same way that I am in the animal-lovers' apartment. Another remark dd's friend made, which I didn't mention in the OP, was, "Why does your kitchen stink? Oh, is it your refrigerator?" (and I am indeed pretty bad about not cleaning out the refrig, 'til we run out of clean containers).

I hadn't noticed an odor, which is weird for me -- but then, with this cold weather, I've been indoors for days at a time and it's possible some odor crept up without me noticing. Dh thought it might have something to do with our kitten not consistently using her litterbox, and sometimes going in our basement.

It was a problem that I was hoping would just resolve itself (I know, not very realistic of me) ... and was kind of shoving to the back of my mind because of our girls' attachment to the kitten. I couldn't stand the thought of having my house smell like cat, but at the same time knew our girls loved her so much that keeping her was our only option.

Then on Monday, we brought home a new 6-week-old puppy, a totally new endeavor for us -- and on top of his messes, our kitten quit using her litterbox entirely for a couple of days. So I realized that if I didn't want to be totally stressed for life, I was going to have to fall in love and bond with our animals.
(I'd initially treated the kitten as our children's pet, making sure she was fed and watered, but letting them and dh do everything else.)

So yesterday, I moved the kitten's litterbox from the basement to our downstairs bathroom, and her food and water, too. And I started loving on her a whole bunch, whenever I got the chance, and taking her to her food (and giving her lots of salmon, too), and then putting her in the box and stroking her. And she's been going in her litterbox!

And I've been promptly cleaning it out. This used to be dh's job, and what with working full-time it was hard for him to do it every day, and impossible for him to do it throughout the day as I've been doing for the past 24 hours. So hopefully this will improve the odor-problem.

But the odor isn't really my motivation for loving on her, now that I've started. I just want her to feel really loved and happy. And now that she feels my love, she seems more interested in doing what pleases me.

Still, now that we have the puppy, this friend'll probably think our house stinks even worse. So far, the pup's not consistently "getting it" about going in the same place each time, and we're cleaning it up and using vinegar as quickly as we find it. But it's a far cry from dd's friend's home, where I think they keep their puppies contained in one part of the house. At least, I haven't noticed any stains on their carpet. Or pet odors (or other odors, for that matter).

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#49 of 51 Old 01-31-2008, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by zeldamomma View Post
Edited to add a thought: It occurs to me that this girl may have felt like she was put in a situation where she needed to pick up other people's messes, and that could be the source of her pointed comments. If you are raised to believe that everyone is supposed to pick up after themselves to avoid inconveniencing whoever is next to use the space, walking into a messy space might feel disrespectful or as if someone was being inconsiderate to you and your needs in a way (KWIM? I don't think I'm phrasing it very well).
Well, I guess it's possible that she thought we were leaving a mess for her to clean up ... though she's never seemed concerned about messes in the past. But I guess there were lots of things I wasn't concerned about before I took on the responsibilities of adulthood. In my 20's. Then I started feeling annoyed, if people who didn't work regularly asked me for money. Or rides.

As a younger person and college student, who was living on my parents' support and generosity, I had no problem with letting some of my (or their) excess run off to help other people. But later, as I felt overwhelmed adjusting to a situation where I was responsible for balancing my own checkbook, and so on, my generosity kind of shriveled up at times. At times, I found I could be a real venemous b!#ch.

I was like, if I can get up at 7 in the morning and go scrape ice off my windshield (or, at some times in my life, walk to the bus-stop), and work all day, and come home and eat nothing but rice for dinner 'cause I'm out of grocery money, then by-gum other people can start figuring things out for themselves, and quit calling me.

In a similar way, now that this little girl's responsibilities are increasing, maybe she's starting to walk into messy rooms and wonder, "Whose turn is it to clean this room? It's not my job this week!" I'm guessing maybe she got caught up on her chores, and that was why her parents changed their minds and let her come -- then she walked in to a house with no chore-chart and lots of mess ... and, well, it may have been kind of an adjustment.

I guess if it comes up in future I'll say, "You're welcome to clean up any mess that bothers you -- but you certainly don't have to come here and clean, it's just up to you. We want you to feel happy and comfortable in our home, and dd loves playing with you."

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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#50 of 51 Old 02-01-2008, 11:09 AM
 
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You know, I have a neighbor (non-homeschooling family) who is gone all day (the kids literally don't get home until 5 or 6 on weeknights and they are 7 and 5) and then seems to spend their weekends cleaning the house, washing the car, vacuuming the car, cleaning their already impeccable garage. (Our garage is in a state that we try to make a mad dash when we open to get what we want and then quickly close it! )

And I wonder "what in the heck do they have to clean when they've been gone all day?" My little house has 6 cats and a dog, two little homeschooled boys who delight in the wonders of digging in the backyard. I couldn't keep up if I tried. But the neighbor kids LOVE to come over here. I think sometimes over-sanitization gets to kids. They love to come and pick through the old toys that are out on our patio and play all kinds of games with my kids (their yard is neat and clean with one soccer goal only). They like to imagine games with an old rope we have and play construction.

I am not saying that people with really clean houses lack imagination but I also know that in our house I have hung the kids art work instead of framed pictures. I do clean and vacuum and sweep but there are toys and games everywhere because like others I don't have the closet space. Some days it gets to me but I try to remember on those days that I'm trying to please a society that I can't----they say I should have a clean house even if it means skipping that cool talk on armadillos or spiders to do it. They also say my kids should be in school and not with me so what do they know?
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#51 of 51 Old 02-01-2008, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I am not saying that people with really clean houses lack imagination but I also know that in our house I have hung the kids art work instead of framed pictures.
So I'm not the only one! I do have some other pictures hung, but I've also hung my girls' work in quite a few places. They painted some paper plates for me, because I didn't have enough of my mom's china plates to make a complete line along the upper walls (next to the ceiling) of our dining room (the reason I didn't have enough is that one dd wanted some of the china plates to decorate the playroom!).

I've put a few paintings in frames (mostly frames that were given to me as gifts), but I've also figured out a cool way to make my own frames. First I hang the painting on the wall. Then I just cut up old cardboard boxes to make two shorter strips and two longer strips for each painting, and tack them up around the paintings (with some white wall showing between the picture and the frame). I think it looks pretty cool!

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I do clean and vacuum and sweep but there are toys and games everywhere because like others I don't have the closet space. Some days it gets to me but I try to remember on those days that I'm trying to please a society that I can't----they say I should have a clean house even if it means skipping that cool talk on armadillos or spiders to do it. They also say my kids should be in school and not with me so what do they know?
Yes, even though we now have more space than we used to, it seems like there's never enough -- in part because I have a dh and one dd who love to collect and hate to part with anything. You never know when you'll have a use for that thing, you know! The question is, will you be able to find it when you need it? My dh is perpetually going out to buy new extension-cords, kitchen gadgets, and tools, 'cause he can't seem to dig up the old ones when he needs them. They get buried in all our stuff!

And in all honesty, I'm rather a pat-rack myself -- not because I can't part with anything, but because I don't take time to sort through stuff.

And I know what you mean about dirt and mud: my girls love it! And even with us removing our shoes when we come in all muddy (well, my toddler often goes tearing through the house before I can get her muddy stuff off of her!), well, it still seems to get tracked around. Then dh loves growing things, and keeps up his compost-bin during the winter, and his shoes seem to pick up lots of mud and dirt and leave chunks of it all over the house.

It's hard for dh to remove his shoes without being able to sit down -- and we do have a chair in our entryway, but it's all covered up with our coats and jackets, because after our toddler pulled the coat-rack down on herself, I was worried she'd get hurt and moved it to the basement for the time-being. To keep our wood floors downstairs clean, I'd literally have to sweep and mop every day (it amazes me that some moms take time to do that!).

As it is, I try to sweep the downstairs at least a couple of times a week. And every once in a blue moon, we mop. It may happen more often now, as my 7yo had a ball mopping yesterday as our new puppy chased the mop!

Before I can vacuum the upstairs carpet, there's always a ton of stuff to be picked up, and all manner of debris, some of which the vacuum wouldn't pick up, anyway. So when I clean a floor upstairs, I sit there with a trashbag, and use an old baby-wipe lid to scrape the debris together and put it into the trashbag as I go. And toss clothes into the hallway to be washed, toss toys into nearby bins. Then by the time I've scooted through the whole room and the carpet's been well-scraped with the lid, I decide it looks good enough not to vacuum. The carpet was old when we moved in ... we shampooed it before moving in here two years ago, but not since.

I keep saying I'm going to clean the upstairs floors more often ... but I cleaned the playroom for the first time in two weeks yesterday -- and I usually do it way less frequently than that. I did our family-bedroom floor earlier this week, for the first time in a couple of months.

I'm thinking it'll be good if I get myself into some kind of a system, whereby at least a few times a week, I clean a room in addition to my regular everyday stuff of dishes, laundry, and cooking. But so far it seems like "cleaning a room" consists of getting the stuff off the floor and cleaning the floors -- there's still all this stuff piled on various dressers , end tables, and the living-room mantle downstairs.

Maybe I'll try to devote one or two days a month to clearing off and dusting the surfaces above the floor, huh? And then maybe I'll get motivated to wipe off the walls at least a few times a year! As you can see, even if I meet all these lofty goals, I'll still be a far cry from Martha Stewart.

Susan -- married unschoolin' WAHMomma to two lovely girls (born 2000 and 2005).
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