Yesterday, I gave the boys a task worthy of Hercules: cleaning their rooms. And by clean, I meant organized.
“I’m going to quiz you,” I said. “Everything should have a place. If I ask you where a toy is, or your belt, or even a story you’re working on, you should be able to turn and point right to it.”
It wasn’t all work, though. The reward for successful completion was watching Star Wars. The boys dove into their rooms with a surprising degree of energy. An hour or so later, my oldest emerged and announced that he was done.
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yep. Come on. I’ll show you.”
We walked into a room that was a picture of cleanliness. There were no papers on the floor, no shoes hanging from doorknobs, no dirty socks draped over the side of the bunkbed ladder.
“Looks good,” I said. “Ready for the quiz?”
“Halloween candy,” I said.
He ran to a bureau and dug out the ziplock bag.
Impressed, I rattled off some more challenges, all of which he mastered. I was just about to congratulate him when he flashed me a mocking smile. “I told you I was done.”
“Uh-huh,” I nodded. “How about the desk drawers?”
“What’s in that desk drawer?”
His chin jutted out ever so slightly. “Papers.”
“And that one?” I asked.
“More papers.” He gestured with his hands to let me know how reasonable it was. “Well, all the ones that wouldn’t fit in the top one. And that drawer,” he pointed to another one, “has the ones that wouldn’t fit in that one. So when I want a paper, I know it’s in one of those drawers.” He hesitated. “Or maybe that one over there. There are some there too.”
“So you gathered up all the papers and shoved them into the drawers?” I asked.
“Carefully placed,” he corrected me.
“Carefully place them again,” I said.
For the record, if he hadn’t done that obnoxious “told you” thing, I never would have bothered with his desk.