Thursday, April 19, 2012


Sometimes I want my kids to pick up their rooms without me having to inspect every corner. When I don't inspect and force them to do a good job, I typically come in later to encounter a pile of dirty clothes smooshed into the corner of Brynn's closet or under her bed. In Callie's room I find every surface of her room covered in trinkets, her very valuable trinkets, all making me feel claustrophobic and causing me to hyperventilate when I walk into her room.

So a few weeks ago I tried something new. I was busy in the driveway pulling weeds and wasn't about to make ten trips up and down the driveway and into their rooms to do inspections just to point out the obvious messes.

Instead, I asked Brynn to go get the camera. "Take photos of every corner of your room. Prove to me that it is clean and then you can come out and play."

Callie, who typically screams and cries when asked to pick up her room, got right on task and started picking up (or so she said). Brynn, who usually pretends to pick up but actually just shoves piles into corners, actually picked up her piles. And then they brought me the camera. Here are a few images from the camera. You'll notice that my interpretation of picked up is not quite the same as the girls'.

 This is Brynn's bed. I thought it was a little lumpy, but not bad.

That looks pretty cluttered to me, but I let it go. For Brynn, this
 was tidy. Clearly, she'll never be in the Navy and 
she's definitely not obsessive-compulsive.

Her desk was mostly cleared off and she 
could do some work on it, so I passed it.

This is where I started to wonder. Was she taking this photo 
to prove that nothing was in a pile in the corner? Because all I see are 
dirty socks and photo albums stuffed between two bookcases. 

Then the photos moved on to Callie's room.
At first I thought this one must have been a "before" 
photo, but then there was no "after" shot.

This one really made me laugh. It's her closet. With the 
curtains closed. Hmmm...what could be lurking back there?

And then she threw in this photo of herself. Maybe if 
mommy sees how sweet and cute I am, she won't make me pick up?

Or if I show her my award-winning artwork, 
she'll let me out of my room?

I realize that I have no room to talk here. My room was never picked up as a kid (except when my mom went in and gutted the whole room for me). And still, Scott gets on my case because I'm not as neat as I could be. But it really seems like, if this is my kids' only responsibility around the house (and it nearly is), picking up occasionally (notice I have not once called it "cleaning up" because that would be way too much to ask) seems like a pretty reasonable expectation.

So what is the verdict on using the camera for inspections?'s better than running up and down the stairs ten times. Does it get the job done? Maybe. Does it matter if my kids rooms are messy? Probably not, and seeing the mess on the camera is a heck of a lot better than seeing it in real life. I think it's a strategy we'll keep using.


Fulton said...

every one of Callie's pictures made me laugh out loud. I especially love the closet one. How did she expect you to respond with that one? Love it, you should definitely keep doing the pictures if for no other reason than parental amusement.

carrie said...

I have vague recollections of rooming with you in college where our room often had your dirty clothes laying on the floor. :)