Callie's room has been getting to me lately. It's a mess. It is hard for me to walk in there, much less hang out and talk to her at night before she goes to sleep. What is the problem? Let me make a confession...the kid has some hoarding tendencies. If I were kind, I'd call her a "collector," but that skirts around the reality of the situation. I tried making her watch Hoarders once, but she didn't like it. She probably saw too much of herself in it.
The crazy thing is that Callie actually knows what is in her room and she can almost (like 99% of the time) find exactly what she is looking for within seconds. And she plays in her room. She plays with every single thing in her room. She is creative and eclectic and entertains herself with stuffed animals and cardboard boxes and beads and feathers and rocks and...you name it, it's probably in her room. All over the floor. And she could tell you where it came from and how long she's had it and what she's been doing with it lately.
Around noon today, I couldn't take it anymore. She'd lost a library book somewhere in her room (a very unusual event) and in order to find it, I knew I needed to tear apart her room, throw out her trash, and cull some of her stuffed animals. I was about ten minutes into it before I realized that I couldn't handle the mess, so I took photos to memorialize the experience. Of course. Because, duh...why wouldn't I want photos of something like this?
In the photo below, I know it looks like Libbie's being thrown out with the rest of the trash, but I think she's just commiserating with me. She was smart enough to hang out in the hallway, away from most of the action. Later on in the afternoon, I found Libbie's favorite squeaky bunny rabbit among the stuff on Callie's floor. I'm wondering what Libbie was thinking by leaving it there. Maybe it was a hint to tread carefully? Don't throw out too much stuff? I should have taken her advice.
As it turns out, I (accidentally?) sent one very special bear to Goodwill. So at 5:15 in the afternoon, I screamed back over to the Goodwill trailer but, alas, they were closed. Tomorrow morning I've got a date at the trailer at 9am to see if I can get that special teddy bear back.
Usually I take all the Goodwill stuff down to the basement for a few days before I take it to the trailer. That way Callie can reclaim the special goodies that are missing and I don't have to take full credit for any missteps. Somehow that habit slipped my mind today. Oops. Callie was doing the ugly cry, the I'm-so-upset-I-can't-talk-cry, as she told me that she couldn't find her bear. I really do feel badly about it but, like I told her, if she'd put her stuff away one of the million times I asked her to, I guess I wouldn't have had to go through her room, right? I know, I know. I'm the meanest mom ever. But, for the record, I found three pairs of scissors in her room. Three! That's like...more than we have in the rest of the house!
This is how Callie's room looked as I began the cleaning process today. It actually looks kind of tame from the above angle. The photo below is where you start to see the magnitude of it all.
Seriously. Doesn't it make you feel like you might pass out? Or like you need to start breathing into a paper bag? I had to bring in my computer and turn on a movie while I picked through it all. I needed a major distraction while I worked or I never would have finished.
In the photo below, maybe you can see why I feel like I might get strangled whenever I walk into her room. Not only from the stuff on the floor, whose tentacles are going to wrap around my feet and crawl up my body and grab me by the neck, but all the stuff hanging from the ceiling! Have you ever seen anything like it? Three big butterflies, more little ones with ribbons, a heart, and in the other corner a bunch of dolphins. She's also got a dream catcher and a (beautiful handmade African) mobile that she wants hanging over her bed, but last week as she napped the mobile fell from the ceiling right on her face and I think it startled her. A lot. It hasn't been put back up yet.
Somehow I did manage to get through all this before Callie came home from school. At the beginning, I thought, "Haha, wouldn't it be funny if I couldn't finish and she came home and saw all this stuff getting ready to go to Goodwill," and then as it got closer and closer to the end of school and I still wasn't finished, I realized it wouldn't be funny at all. At least not to her, and (therefore) not to me either. It would be a scary, scary situation and I was feeling panicked. So I kicked it into high gear, made my Goodwill drop, and then brought Callie home.
Most kids are happy when their room is clean, especially if they didn't have to contribute. Callie is not one of those kids. She was pretty upset at first, looking around for everything she thought would be missing. "Where did you put it all?" she asked. "I put it away," I said. I told her I only threw away trash, to which she responded, "You think ALL my stuff is trash!!!" Point taken. She didn't ask about Goodwill, at least not until she realized that her favorite bear was missing.
When I told her I was very sorry and that I should have taken the Goodwill stuff to the basement for a few days she said, between sobs, "I've already rescued that bear from the basement once before!"
I had no idea. Seriously. How disconnected am I that I don't know her favorite bear? She was looking for him because she wanted him to sit on her newly made bed. She's right -- he would have been the perfect finishing touch. Sigh.
I'll do better next time. Or maybe there won't be a next time? A mom can hope.