Today after arriving home from the school drop I took the Lollipop out of her pushchair gave her a bottle of juice, switch on the kettle and grabbed my yoghurt out of the refrigerator. Then I sat at my desk opened my email and began to fulfil a request from my mother to send some pictures of our family to my God Mother.
I felt rather awful at having not emailed her in so long. The last time was so long ago I can’t remember when it was. So I endeavoured to ensure that I sent her some of the best pictures and made sure my email rambled enough to bring her right up to date with our goings on here at the end of the world.
As always, sitting down to write a ramble is, for me, liberating and inspiring. It felt good to tell some of the old stories again and share some old photos. I got so caught up in what I was doing that I never did make my coffee or eat my breakfast. Unfortunately I also forgot about the Lollipop who was happily wondering about the place out of sight and way out of mind.
When I did come up for air, and coffee it was with the sudden realisation that the Lollipop was no longer perched on the “donut” drinking juice and playing with her “piano.” In fact it was so quiet I panicked. Of course I found her not very long afterwards playing happily and safely in her sister’s bedroom. Though what she was doing was a little puzzling at first. She was lying on her tummy reaching under the bed and grunting with the effort so I decided to take a look myself and see what it was that was keeping her attention. What I found had me laughing at myself and my complete gullibility and the Butterfly’s innocent yet sly ingenuity.
That’s got your attention! Unfortunately I must here digress a little from the story and give you a little background.
As you all know we use a star chart reward system with the Butterfly to teach the value of money and also encourage her to do chores. She started with just having to make her bed every morning but I have since added more chores to try make it a little more difficult and hopefully more rewarding in the end. One of the requirements is that she tidies her room every night after her bath. Believe me when I tell you it is not an easy task, the Butterfly is a very busy child and can sometimes empty her entire toy box while playing. I think it is also one of her worst chores and over time she has learnt to make less mess while playing. To be fair I don’t expect her to clean up after the Lollipop who also takes great pleasure in emptying her sister’s bookshelves or bed side draws. For now cleaning up after the Lollipop is my job. Even so getting the Butterfly to do what’s expected and to do it properly takes a lot of encouragement and patience. One of which I can do without thinking the other of which I don’t have much of at all. So the Mauritian and I take turns to sit with her in her room and guide her along what to do, it’s an exhausting job because the Butterfly will try anything to get out of the job or get you to help her. The Mauritian and I have learnt that when one’s patience is running low its best to swop places with the other parent and not shout.
Then two weeks ago the Butterfly had a play date with one off her favourite friends and true to form they made a horrendous mess of not just her bedroom but the Lollipop’s room, the passage and the lounge. I don’t mind really, I enjoy the fact that they are having such a good time together, besides which they entertain the Lollipop at the same time and I’m able to do other things. But I did of course insist that they clean up together before I took little Tanya home. Little Tanya tackles everything with enthusiasm and makes everything she does into a game so I was not surprised that it only took them about half an hour to do a pretty good clean up job without supervision. So the next night I told the Butterfly that I wasn't going to watch her clean up because she had proved the day before that she didn’t need me there. She was to prove me right and yet again do a marvellous job.
It is here that we now return to my story.
So for the last two weeks both the Mauritian and I have been singing her praises and telling her what an awesome kid she was for keeping up the tidying and not complaining. She smiled we smiled and everyone was happy.
That is until I discovered that the tidying up the Butterfly has been doing consisted of pushing everything under her bed. As far back and in the corner as she could get it so I wouldn’t see it at all, even if I pulled her bed out slightly to straighten her covers. If I hadn’t seen the Lollipop on the floor trying desperately to reach the Butterfly’s “LalaLoppy” doll I would still be none the wiser.
Yet again while thinking I was finally one step ahead of her I was really ten steps behind!
Today on the way home from Kindy I told the Butterfly that I had taken away last week’s stars and that she will have to earn them all over again. She of course was mad at me and protested and sulked for most of the day but she grudging agreed to clean up everything the right way eventually. I decided to leave her to it and not stand over her to let her know that I trusted her to get it right. Just before dinner I sent the Mauritian to check on the Butterfly and call her to the table. A few minutes later he called me to her room to show me what a fabulous cleaning job she had done. Sure enough the room was really tidy so I made a big show of looking under the bed and we all had a good laugh. It was now time for dinner so I went to the Butterfly’s cupboard to get her gown and what do you think I discovered?
The mess that was under her bed was now in her cupboard!