Harry and Ron share a bedroom, for now.
It’s the smallest bedroom in the house, which is stupid, I know. The reasons for why that happened are silly and kind of boring, but suffice it to say we have been talking about switching their room with George’s for months now, but it just never happens. It’s a day-long commitment and every time I think about moving the bunk beds, I feel ill.
So there they are, my mercifully-very-compatible older boys, stuffed into a small room with all their Legos and action figures.
Not surprisingly, it gets messy. I’ve given them every organizational tool imaginable to keep things tidy. I’ve decluttered rigorously so they don’t need to find as many places for things. I remind them every day to put away the day’s toys. I cajole them to walk across the hall to put their laundry in the hamper.
Still, by Saturday morning it was a catastrophe. Again. The floor was covered with Lego, dirty clothes, books, papers. Nothing was where it belonged. Every dresser in Harry’s bureau was open. All of Ron’s bedding was on the floor – he likes to rip the sheet and comforter off and throw them on the floor, for some reason we’ve never been able to determine.
They haven’t received their allowance in a couple of months, because it’s contingent on them having a clean room on Inspection Day. With Christmas, they got enough new toys and things that there isn’t anything in particular they’re saving up for, so the promise of money/gratification later wasn’t cutting it.
It was just one more battle, and if I never had to go in their room I wouldn’t bother fighting it. But I was stepping on Lego every night when I tucked Ron into bed, and Harry was complaining that he had no socks or pants for school even though all the laundry in the hamper was done.
I was bracing myself for the fight when I spotted this little guy on Saturday afternoon:
His name is “Eruptor” and he is one of the Skylanders characters for the phenomenally popular game series for the Nintendo Wii. My kids are big into the games and collecting the (45 and counting!) different playable characters that go with them. At a cost of $12 apiece, or just a dollar more than their combined weekly allowance.
The store had one in stock. They’ve been wanting this particular character for a really long time. We’ve learned the hard way that if you see one you want, grab it, because there are actually adults out there who collect these damn things and then resell them on eBay or Kijiji at far beyond retail. Because some people are jerks.
I bought it. I brought it home. I let them look at the package and ooh and ahh. I gave them the scent.
Then I put it on top of the fridge and said they could have it when their room was clean. Really clean.
Guys, they busted ass. They worked on it for three hours on Saturday. Then they got up early Sunday morning (!!) to finish. They didn’t bicker, fight, or argue. They threw out garbage, stacked books, dealt with laundry. By the time they pronounced it ready for me to see it, I was amazed. You could eat off the floor.
So they earned their plastic thing, I can look at a clean room, plus they had a new toy to help them through the boredom of a cold, blustery snow day.
Did I bribe my kids? Yes I did.
It was totally worth it.