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? Eh...it'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.