Sunday, May 1, 2011

"Pick up your Little People, and put them in the bin!"

Strange title, right?

But, since I have said this exact sentence approximately 17,000 times in the last three days, it happens to be permanently trapped in my head.

My son is not quite two.  He is gorgeous, sweet and full of life.  He is, unfortunately, the most stubborn human I have ever met.  Ever.  Ever, ever, ever. 
It's not as though we expect him to be folding his own laundry and mowing the lawn, but we are working to teach him the basic skill of picking up after himself, at least a little.  I know I should not compare, but I can tell you for a fact that his sister was doing this by his age.  Him, not so much!  Every day, he takes the giant plastic tub full of Fisher Price Little People (and their dogs, swings, helicopters, picnic tables, grocery carts, etc.) and dumps them onto his floor.  Often, the dumping of the bin is clearly more of the point than the actual playing with the toys.  Then, at the end of the evening, there is the nightmarish fight to get him to put even a few of them back into the bin with lots and lots of "help" from the rest of us.  Truly, for the effort it takes the entire family to get him to do it, and the effort he goes to to not do it, we could have carved our own collection of little people out of firewood!  So, here's what we've tried:

Repetition, repetition, repetition.  Repeating that exact same sentence over and over and over and over (you get the drift) in a neutral but firm tone.  Nothing!

Threatening with (and then following through with) time-outs for not listening to Mommy/Daddy.  Did this for over an hour today.  Nothing.

Putting in crib by self with no toys for a few minutes, then coming back and saying "Are you ready to help clean up now?"  Nothing.

Leaving room, saying "Tell me when you are finished picking up."  Nothing.

Physically picking the child up and dipping him down to pick up toy, then turning so he can drop it into the bin.  Great fun for him, hooray, new game!  Murder on an already troublesome back.

Making it a race "Who can pick up the most toys the fastest?"  Nothing.

Finally, after several nightmarish evenings in a row of this, hubby declared enough is enough.  Now, every Little Person, accessory, car, house, zoo, or anything that has the misfortune to resemble a Little Person product is packed away and on the top shelf of the kid's closet.  He has already asked to play with them at least once.  Apparently, the toys are now in "time out" and can reappear in a few months when baby boy can be more cooperative in their day-to-day maintenance.  Maybe we are terrible, monster parents.  Maybe we are the smartest parents in the world.  I really don't care at this point, my brain needs a break from that sentence!

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