I've mentioned before that I have had a hard time with my relationship with Cookie. I've been working on it for several years now, and today we had a lovely moment. We cleaned together. Now, I know this isn't a new idea, in fact it is one of the oldest parenting tricks in the book. But it can be very hard to do. Usually when I have the kids clean we all do it at the same time, and I act more as a task master than a parent in order to keep everyone in line. Or, I give them their job and I move to another room to clean. I actually really don't like being near my kids when they are cleaning because I have zero patience when it comes to whining. I'd rather they whine to an empty room and avoid any confrontations. Either way, cleaning has never been a bonding moment for me and the kids.
Today was different. Today I really needed to get my living room deep cleaned and I really needed help to get it done. I asked Cookie to help, and she showed little enthusiasm but tried her best not to whine. It went as usual for the first 30-45 minutes, but as we kept digging deeper and went beyond the usual living room duties her attitude began to change. Rather than feeling like a slave, she began to feel like a valued helper, like an equal. We began to chat as we cleaned. We talked about our dream bedroom, about what kind of cleaning we preferred to do (we even switched jobs at that point when we realized that we were both doing a job that the other preferred), I shared memories of cleaning with my mom, and we talked about how REAL cleaning makes us feel good inside. We moved furniture, we dusted, we polished, we sorted, we rearranged the whole room. In the end we both sat back and admired our work while slapping a high five. It was wonderful.
I was quickly reminded, after, why I don't usually clean like this. While Cookie and I were bonding Sweet Terror spilled bubble solution all over the place downstairs, and Monster Man snuck a frozen yogurt pop downstairs and managed to dribble here and there. And now it is time for lunch and the younger kids are still in their PJ's. But it was worth it! I may not do this everyday, but I think this kind of cleaning should happen with each child at least once a month.
And, no, despite even moving furniture (very carefully) I have not gone into labor yet. But there is still much deep cleaning ahead... =)