Our Easter Bunny was a Dust Bunny

Just within the last six months, my 10-year-old finally, officially learned that a giant bunny really doesn’t break into our house every Easter to hide baskets of goodies (seriously, I think if I hadn’t said anything, she’d have held tightly to that belief well into her 20’s), so Easter was a lot more low-key this year. But we still were visited by a bunny, just of a different kind– or I should say, this Easter I re-acquainted myself with the dust bunnies that have taken up permanent residency in my kids’ rooms. 

I don’t think the “spring cleaning” urge has hit my kids yet.  I stood at each of their doorways, shaking my head in disbelief.  What is it about kids and not keeping their rooms picked up? I don’t get it. Especially with the teenager, who realizes how much she likes her room when she can see the furniture, likes how much easier it is to get ready for school when she doesn’t have to hear a “crunch” while walking across the bedroom floor, from stepping on sunglasses, CDs, empty makeup bottles and such, that are buried under piles of clothes.  She appreciates her clean room when she’s worked hard to clean it up– so why does it take less than 24 hours for it to be unrecognizable once again?  If anyone has read anything about this and has answers, please share.  Is it part of most kids’  DNA, like hating vegetables and procrastinating about homework? Or something that shows extreme creativity in certain people (yeah, maybe that’s it– their rooms are like big canvases…)  Or maybe it’s kids’ subconscious way of exerting control in a world where they feel they don’t have much control over anything (ah, nothing like a little psychoanalysis to figure things out…)

I know my kids are not alone in their brazen slobbishness.  I’ve heard it many times from other people about their own kids.  And sometimes I’ve seen other kids’ rooms up close.  I’ll never forget an interview I did for a newspaper story I was writing about a local “Barbie artist”– it was for a special section on the 40th anniversary of the Barbie doll, and this artist made collages out of Barbie-related objects.  Anyway, she was taking me on a tour of her house, showing me the Barbie art hanging in the hallway, when we walked by what appeared to be a bedroom.  The door was open and it was a disaster zone inside.  “Sorry,” she apologized, closing the door.  “I have a teenaged daughter.” To which I “knowingly” offered a piece of advice– me, who only had one 4-year-old child at the time (and the artist knew that from our initial chit chat)– “We have a rule at our house,” I said.  “Our daughter can’t have friends over or go play anywhere if her room’s not picked up.”  Thankfully the woman just smiled politely and said something like “That’s good,” instead of throwing me out.  (I realized pretty quickly what a doofus I’d been and just knew my “know-it-all” comment would come back to haunt me someday!)

Yes, we do still have that rule and if we didn’t, I think my teen’s room might never get picked up. True, if you read the entry posted previously about our
allowance system, you’d see there are also allowance dollars tied to keeping their rooms picked up, and allowance is lost daily if they don’t.  But, I wrote that the allowance system has worked to shape only some behaviors with the teenager– one of those behaviors is not, unfortunately, room cleaning.  I kid you not– in the 16 months since we’ve had that allowance system in place, I can count on two hands the number of weeks she’s made a daily effort to earn allowance by keeping her room picked up.  And as a result, she has far less money to spend on clothes.  She loves clothes and shopping more than just about anything else in the world, so I’ve never fully understood why she gives up the opportunity to have more, by not doing something as simple as pull up a comforter and throw clothes in the hamper each day before things get out of control.  Is that so hard? She says it is.  So, at least things get picked up on the days when friends are coming over.  

Even I must have been the same way when I was growing up.  I don’t remember how bad the mess ever got, but I do remember my Dad poking his head into my room once in awhile, a grin on his face like a cat that ate a bird, saying, “Hey, did anyone get hurt?”
“Huh?” I’d reply, falling unawares right into his joke. “What are you talking about?”
“You know, when the tornado hit in here,” he’d say. “Did anyone get hurt?”
I probably threw a dirty sock at him and chased him away.

33 thoughts on “Our Easter Bunny was a Dust Bunny”

  1. When I was a teen, I remember helping a best friend clean her room. I’ll never forget all the mold and fungus growing leftover cups and dishes! Funny to look back on it.

  2. Wow, your comment gave me another “dirty room” flashback– when I was about 16, I once felt comfortable enough with a high school boyfriend (who I’d only been dating a few weeks) that one time when he dropped by and I was cleaning my room, I had him come back and “hang out” with me while I finished cleaning it.  I think that was a big mistake, and probably one of the reasons he decided to move on to another relationship not long after.  A little bit TMI too soon, if you know what I mean!  What the %@#! was I thinking?!

  3. When I was a parent–long, long ago–I tried all the prescribed methods with my 4 daughters. None worked. For a long time I just said they had to stay home on Saturday until their rooms were cleaned, but sometimes they were still home on Sunday morning and it made for miserable weekends. When my oldest daughter was 17, I hit on the best solution quite by accident. I began “helping” her keep her room clean. Each morning I would go into her room after she left and make her bed and fold her clothes and straighten her things. It took about two weeks. The thing was I really wanted to help her–no sarcasm, no judgment, nothing. But she was worried. hee hee hee
    I wish we had internet and wonderful blogs like this in the “old” days. What a help it would have been. By the way, my standard answer to “You’re mean” was “Of course, You have to be mean to be a parent and I’m so mean they gave me 4 of you.” It worked like a charm and I smiled a lot.

  4. You are so right– it does drive teens crazy when you enter the “sacred space” that is their bedroom, let alone touch their stuff.  I might try that, although I have a hunch that after awhile, she’d love the idea of Mom being even more a “servant” to her than I already am. (This girl has been reading too many novels where the main character is very rich!!)

    By the way, I love your answer to “You’re mean”.  I’ll bet your children turned out great!

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