Cleaning with a Toddler in the House
My goal yesterday was to do the laundry, dishes, clean my granddaughter’s messy room, straighten up the living room and kitchen, organize the laundry room and clean the bathroom. I also had to pack my belongings and my oldest granddaughter’s belongings. I expected to be able to leisurely clean while catching up on my shows that I’d DVRed. My daughter hates my favorite shows, so I was taking advantage of having her rest all day in her bedroom with the newborn baby to get everything done.
I’d raised three kids and I adore my granddaughter (Chloe) and knew that she would not be a problem. How naive I was!
While I was loading the dishwasher, Chloe made a concoction of crushed fruit loops and juice on the coffee table. She had three-quarters of the table decorated in this mixture by the time I caught her.
I put in a load of laundry and finished loading the dishwasher only to find a new creation in the living room – that had been thoroughly cleaned the day before. This time it was a melee of cheerios and crayons scattered in a pattern showing her artistic abilities. I knew it was pointless to mess up her art project, it would only be done again, so I removed her from the room and placed her in her bedroom to play.
As I was organizing the laundry room, I could hear Chloe busy going from her bedroom to the living room. I could see the living room from where I was and caught her bringing toy after toy out of her room and into the living room. This called for drastic measures.
A few days ago, we watched the television network Noggin together and she fell in love with Bill Cosby’s cartoon show “Little Bill.” I DVRed several episodes for times like this. I put on Little Bill and sat her down on the couch. She will sit still for an amazing length of time for this show.
I put in my own load of laundry because I was out of clothes by this point and needed to get my own suitcase packed. I gave my daughter the new baby’s clean load of laundry for her to fold and pack, but she was still so exhausted from the new medication she was just given that she decided to do that later in the day. While I was unloading the dishwasher and refilling it (her dishwasher is very small), I could tell that “Little Bill” was not holding Chloe’s attention as it should.
She was attempting to put her baby in a blanket the way her baby sis was wrapped up in a blanket. She had a dirty blanket out of the laundry pile and was frustrated that she could not get it wrapped right. Her baby is actually a small teddy bear that her daddy gave her when she was a little baby. She has slept with it every night since and it is her security blanket, per se.
Because she was angry, she was tearing up the wicker basket she uses as her baby’s bed. I took the basket away from her so she would not hurt herself on it. She started screaming. So I fixed the basket then sat down with her and wrapped up her baby in the blanket. She held the bear close to her and kissed it before putting it in the basket to go night night.
I went back to my chores only to hear her throwing things around the living room. She had undone the blanket and could not get it back and was throwing a tantrum. I decided now would be the perfect time to get her room cleaned. I sent her to her room, then took the bear and the blanket and put them into the washing machine. I picked up the broom and headed to her room.
Her room is a mess, because she’s a toddler and my daughter had been alone during the last months of her pregnancy and was able to do less and less as time went on. Her husband was able to make it back from Afghanistan for the birth of their baby, and I’ve been here for a month now, but anyone who has little kids knows how impossible keeping a clean house is.
Anyways.. I moved her Dora Toddler bed and swept all her toys to one side of the room. I took out all the stuff that did not belong in her toy box and then began teaching her how to clean her room. I made a pile of all the toys that needed to go into the toy box. I handed her one thing at a time and told her to put it in the toy box, until she understood that all the toys in that pile needed to go into the toy box. I piled up all her stuffed animals in their display pile in the corner while she put the other toys in the toy box. This lasted about five minutes.
Chloe started to find toys she’d forgotten about and began playing with them instead of putting them away. I redirected her a few times until that stopped working. She finally revolted and refused to put any more toys away. That’s when I decided it was break time.
I took her back out to the living room to play and she did, for a few minutes. Then she headed back into her room to play with all the toys she’d forgotten about. I knew it was pointless to try to clean anymore in her room for awhile. So I got all the towels and linens together to be washed.
I did a bit more cleaning and then headed back to see what kind of damage she’d done to her room. Thankfully, it was not much. I tried to get her to clean with me again, but she refused. I just hurried up and cleaned as fast as I could. As soon as I put out her riding toys in a row next to her bedroom door, she had them out in the living room riding around on them.
I managed to work around her to sweep and mop the room. She refused to leave while I was doing it. She would just move from one side of the room to the other as I needed her to.
Everytime I put her riding toys back where they belonged, she had them back out in the living room again.
I was frustrated and my daughter had gotten up to talk to her husband online. After they were through talking, we went out for lunch and dunkin donuts to cheer her up. We needed milk anyways.
When we got back to the house, it was nap time for Chloe. Chloe has been refusing to take her naps since her daddy left to go back to war a week ago. She wants her daddy to kiss her before she will go to sleep. She cries for him and I had to have a long talk with her about how she took her daddy to the airport and said “bye byes” to him and that he is not coming home for a long long time. I told her that she was coming back to my house the next day and all the people she would get to see and who would be giving her kisses before she took her naps. Well, she could not understand the concept of “tomorrow” and insisted on going bye byes right then and there.
Knowing that the best way to deal with this nap issue would be to insist on a nap, regardless of how long it took for her to actually fall asleep, I made her stay in bed and kept checking on her off and on. If we give in to her and let her up, she will stop taking her naps, and she’s too little to do that. She gets way too cranky and this is simply a short-term issue. She will eventually start falling asleep sooner and sooner after we put her down.
I was taking advantage of her being down, even if she was not asleep. I got a bunch more laundry done and my suitcase packed. I was working on her suitcase, and so when I went to check on her, I was going to get her clothes out of her room. The problem was that everytime I checked on her, she was in the middle of doing something crazy.
She had toys strewn around her room once. I had to pick them all up. She had toys piled up in her bed another time. I had to take them from her. And then once when she was especially quiet, I caught her in her worst antic of the day. She was sitting on her bed, with her back to the door. Her legs were in a circle and she had poured her milk out into a pool between her legs. She had her baby bear sitting in the pool. She said “bath” and I was like “NO!” I had to clean up that mess and that also meant that I had to take her baby away from her to get washed again. She was so upset that she was being forced to take a nap without her baby.
She eventually took a short nap and so I relented and let her up.
She continued to drive me up a wall the rest of the day and one time I even yelled at her. I yelled “Chloe! Why are you two?!?” And she laughed and replied “Two!”
No, I did not get everything done that I wanted to get done.