So it turns out that for the last five years Ellie has been carefully lulling me into a false sense of security when it comes to tidying up. She’s always been a child who likes to tidy and I’ve always appreciated this fact. It was only when I came home from work one night to a scene of utter chaos and found myself automatically going about tidying it; that I suddenly saw that times had changed, without me even realising.
Ellie’s belongings were literally strewn around the entire house. Bits of paper and the ends of those bits she’d cut were left on the table, together with pens, scissors and cellotape. Her doll and accessories were on the living room floor, her box of ‘things’ (aka crap) spread across her room and her dirty school clothes strung along the hall, stairs and landing between the front door and the washing basket. I note the fact that it headed towards the basket as if to make the point that she knew where it should be.
I stopped myself mid tidy and realised that Ellie had me – she’d been really subtle in moving from always keeping her things tidy, to leaving everything for me to sort. During my subsequent discussion with Ellie, she seemed to understand what I was saying and told me she would tidy her room and her things.
Sadly, as is so often the case my sense of satisfaction was a little premature. Whilst I thought Ellie was saying ‘I’m sorry mummy, I’ll tidy it from now on’, what she was actually saying was ‘phase one complete – she won’t see this coming’ and the next day Ellie introduced me to the new kind of tidy.
The new kind of tidy is a modern twist on actually being tidy – it seems to involve one large area of what can only be described as orderly mess with three key rules:
Rule 1: items must spread across the floor in ‘sorted piles’ so that you can find what you are looking for.
Rule 2: You must use copious amounts of cellotape to ‘fix’ everything up so you can ‘see it properly’
and finally rule 3: a killer look of pride which means you can’t possibly get told off.
Just in case anyone else finds themselves facing the new kind of tidy please be warned that whilst it is hard work, it is well worth persevering to negotiate two further rules.
Rule 4: the new kind of tidy is absolutely fine in your bedroom, not in any (or indeed every) other room in the house.
Rule 5: It must be physically possible to open and close your bedroom door, walk to the curtains and bed, aka the sacred bedtime must not be affected.
So there you have it – Ellie and I have found a suitable middle ground, agreed our terms and peace is again restored. When i think about it though it does feel a little bit like Ellie has moved me from requiring a traditionally tidy room to something slightly less tidy. Alas, I must move with the times and after all, it’s the new kind of tidy don’t you know.