Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Gene That Skipped A Generation

I like to have a neat and clean house.  I, however, do  not like to do things that I have to do to keep that house neat and clean, yet I do it anyway.  You see I was raised by Ann Taylor.  A woman who not only likes things to be neat, clean and orderly, but ENJOYS doing the cleaning and the organizing.  Yeah.  I know.  Crazy, right?

 My mother LOVES to clean.  I mean she really does.  When she's mad, she cleans, when she's nervous she cleans, when she's excited or happy...well you get where I'm going here.  It's her meditation of sorts.  We always like to hear the story of how she was up in the middle of the night before she and my dad got married scrubbing the floors of her mother's house. See what I mean? 

 When she and my dad came for Christmas this past year, I gave her the green light to clean out whatever she wanted, while Andy and I went to get massages.  You would have thought I handed her a giant Publisher's Clearing House check.  She was so excited.  And here is the even crazier part.  She is so damn fast.  In the three hours Andy and I were gone, she had cleaned out my pantry, kitchen drawers, cabinets in the bathroom and the laundry room and still had time to make a home cooked meal with pie for dessert, while doing a fun craft with the girls.  THREE HOURS!!  I can't even change all the sheets on the beds in that amount of time!  I just don't get it.  I swear there is a clone of her she hides somewhere. 

It is unfortunate that I did not get this love for cleaning gene.  I would rather give birth again than clean out someone else's kitchen, let alone my own.  I'm assuming it skips a generation, because as far as I know, my sisters are not so fond of doing the actual work it takes to get things to where they like them to be either.  We all bitch about cleaning and clutter on a daily basis.  There is one girl, however, who does seem to be a little more like her Nona, (my mom)  in my house.  My little Lana.

The day that my mom cleaned out all of those things in my house, Lana was right there to help her out.  WILLINGLY.  One of Lana's favorite things to do is clean out her closet.  I'm not kidding.  She will come to me on a random Thursday afternoon and ask if she can clean out her closet.  Ummmm....let me think about that a minute....Hells yeah!  Okay well maybe I leave the "hell" part out but you get it.  And she will not just reorganize things.  No, no.  She will take every last shoe out of that closet, dust bust any dirt and yuckiness left behind and put them all back in very neat pairs and rows.  Amazing.  Again -ALL ON HER OWN.  Now this is not something I have ever taught her or she's learned from her big sister.  Definitely not from Sonya.  Sonya is completely opposite.  Sonya hates to clean and organize and to be quite honest, doesn't understand why that pile of papers building on her desk since last August just can't stay there.  What?  It's her desk.  Those papers aren't bothering anyone. Sometimes she doesn't even see the clutter and mess I point out to her in her room.  

You think I'm exaggerating?  The child is thisclose to the Hoarders people coming in and taking over her room.  I finally decided at the beginning of the summer to try and put a stop to it.  As much as I wanted to be on TV at one point in my life, I don't want it to be because my daughter can't leave her apartment due to the newspapers piled up in front of her door.   I knew I had to teach her how to clean things out, and not just do it for her like I have in the past.  I had to teach her the ways of Ann Taylor, since she wasn't born with it like her sister. 

I set aside a day for us to clean out her room at the beginning of June.   Silly me thought it would take only a day to clean her entire room.  I had forgotten just how much crap she keeps.  It ended up taking us over a two week period.  Not every day mind you, but a day here and there.  I would say 4 1/2 days total.  I had to break it up for her, because you would have thought I told her, "Time to hang you upside down by your toenails for four hours!" the way she moaned and carried on.  Everyday we cleaned out a  different part of the room.  Bookshelves were one day, closet and under the bed another, and the desk needed a full day of love.  In the end we had three garbage bags of crap and two of things to be given away.  The good part was she LIKED  how her room looked after all was said and done.  She loved how neat it was and how everything had a place.  It was something she begrudgingly admitted to me of course, but admitted nonetheless.  Of course that did not stop her from immediately not putting things away in the right place just two days later.  Baby steps.  

Lana, however, is the kid who had a breakdown three weeks ago, because her clothes drawers were a mess and GG doesn't keep them neat after she fixes them and how is she supposed to put clothes away when they are always messy and what's the point of fixing it if GG messes them up again???  This was the exact thing she said to me.  Oh do I feel her pain.  Yet she turned around and organized them again anyway.  

So on Monday this week I told the girls we were cleaning the house.  My in-laws were coming on Tuesday and I've been wanting to clean out Lana and Georgia's room this summer, but just haven't had time.  No surprise since this is the first you're hearing from me in about a month.  Sonya immediately started whining and complaining, because she didn't want to.  Her desk was spiraling out of control again, but since we had just recently cleaned everything out, I knew it wouldn't take long to get it back to where it was.  Lana was excited and ready to get started.  Georgia falls somewhere in the middle right now.  She wants to be with Lana on this because they are so close, but she's not much for the hard work so she chose to pick a fight with Lana instead.  I ended up banning her from the room so we could get some work done.  She kinda got out of doing most of the work, which at this juncture was fine with me.  I will work on her next summer.   

Lana helped me clean out the toy box and then did the entire closet as she always does.  After her initial complaint fest, Sonya went into her room and did her desk all on her own.  She was even proud of it! It looks like I might have taught her something useful!  Those are always great moments when you realize that they took something from what you were trying to teach them.  I was so proud of her. I'm also so grateful that I have Lana who won't fight me on doing these things and in fact enjoys them.  

Later that night at dinner I commended everyone on the great job they did helping me out that day.  I said how much I appreciated them chipping in to do all that work, how great everything looked, and how impressed their grandparents would be.   Then I said something to Sonya about it not being all that bad to do the work if the final product looks so good like her clean desk.  She admitted I was right, but also said she still hated doing it.  

"I'm not like Lana, mom," she told me.  "She LIKES to do that stuff.  Lana has the gift of Nona."

Yes, I guess she does have the gift of Nona.  Which is good news for me because I can look forward to organized kitchen cabinets and closets in just a few short years without having to do the work myself.  And with the way Lana gets angry and upset, she may just have a career in cleaning out other people's crap.  Thanks for passing on your "gift" to my daughter mom!