After taking the summer off, it was time for my 7-year-old twins to return to dance lessons. Since their lesson is on a weekday evening, I have to leave work early to get there on time. I let my daughters know that their dance bags needed to be packed and ready to go well ahead of time.
Of course, they waited until the final moments I would allow them to, but 2 days before their first lesson, I put my foot down. In the mad scramble to pack, they had no trouble finding their dance clothes, but their shoes were another matter. I told them to check our shoe rack, their dance bags, their dance cubbies, and their room. All they could find was a lone tap shoe, a size too small for the littlest feet in our house.
It was time for Project Clean Your Room, Episode 2.
Thanks to Episode 1, there was no need to sift through detritus from the floor. However, we did have 3 bins of unsorted stuff to go through, as well as 2 desks to examine. I started barking out orders. I would go through the bins, distributing their contents to the girls. M was in charge of returning toys to their rightful homes, whether that was the toy shelf, the toy bin, the donation bag, recycle bin, or trash. J was in charge of books and paper.
We weren’t 5 minutes in before J returned from another trip to the bookshelf, huffing in indignation. “This is not fun!” she informed me. “What would Mary Poppins do?”
I started singing “Just a Spoonful of Sugar,” but was informed that it wasn’t working.
“Okay, M,” I improvised. “All the stuffed toys are secret superheroes with invisible cloaks. They’re going to fly into the toy bin. Try not to crash them! And J, you’re Super Librarian, and your mission is to get the books through the Hallway of Word-Eaters to the Bookshelves of Knowledge. Go!”
And they went, willingly and in good spirits.
As it turned out, the dance shoes were exactly where I’d told them to look first, in the shoe rack. But hey, their room is being put to rights, and I learned to ask myself, “What would Mary Poppins do?” You know what? A spoonful of sugar, imagination, or laughter does make that medicine go down, in the most delightful way.
Sadia (rhymes with Nadia) has been coordinating How Do You Do It? since late 2012. She is the divorced mother of 7-year-old monozygotic twins, M and J. She lives with them and their 3 cats in the Austin, TX suburbs and works full time as a business analyst. She retired her personal blog, Double the Fun, when the girls entered elementary school and also blogs at Adoption.com and Multicultural Mothering.