The Zen of Cleaning: 2013 365 Challenge #102

Toddler Shirts: Fiddly to Iron

Toddler Shirts: Fiddly to Iron

Today witnessed another domestic day of calm which also started with a minor victory.

I decided to download reward charts for the children, for Going to Nursery with a Smile. We haven’t done reward charts before, partly because I think Aaron’s still a bit little and partly because I’m rubbish at that kind of structured parenting. The kids get stickers for good behaviour but it’s incident specific – some days they’ll get them for eating all their dinner, sometimes for washing their hair.

I’ve never wanted them to be always motivated by sticker rewards – I’m naively hopeful they’ll eat their dinner or go to bed because it needs to be done.

Reward charts for Smiling Faces

Reward charts for Smiling Faces

But the nursery thing has become a bad habit for all of us and I was scraping the bottom of my pot of parenting ideas. Now they get a sticker each time they don’t cry and after they have collected ten they can buy a toy. I think little man might get frustrated waiting the month it will take to earn ten stickers but at least I have a neutral point of discussion. I just need to make sure not to over-use it: I probably said ‘you won’t get a sticker’ a dozen times this morning. He still clung to me and wanted to cry when I dropped him off, but a timely reminder of the promised toy brought him round.

As a reward to myself I’ve been doing housework all day because a clean house is a calm house. It means my Claire post will be a little short but it’s a price worth paying. Three loads of laundry and a batch of spag bol later and I’m back in control, for now. If only little man hadn’t decided he wants to wear shirts like Daddy. I don’t do ironing, it’s practically in my marriage contract. But you can’t say no to a 2-year-old who wants to look smart. If I could also find his missing football top I might earn some major Mummy brownie points! In the meantime I am floating around my clean house in a zen bubble of peace, wiping stains off work-tops and picking up stray socks. It will last twenty-four hours – 48 hours at the most – so I’m enjoying it while I can.

A little aside about today’s post. It makes sense if you’ve seen Tangled (a frying pan; who knew right?) If you haven’t seen it I heartily recommend it.


Below is the next installment in my novel Two-Hundred Steps Home: written in daily posts since 1st January as part of my 2013 365 Challenge. Read about the challenge here.You can catch up by downloading the free ebook volumes on the right hand side of the blog:


“Sky, come away from the edge, sweetheart. Sky? I said come away from the edge!” Claire ran forwards to catch hold of her niece as she leaned over the railings, her feet dangling a foot above the path. She peered down at the two-story drop and retreated to the middle of the walkway, swallowing bile. Honestly, I used to think Castles were a bit boring but I feel like I’ve been on the Big Dipper at Blackpool. She felt the sweat trickle down into her bra, despite the freezing wind whistling around the half-ruined castle walls.

On her right she could feel the view stretching into the distance. If she turned she knew she would see a lake and a glimpse of the village in the distance. If I’d been watching Sky instead of admiring the scenery my niece wouldn’t have nearly thrown herself twenty foot to her death. We should have stayed in Framlingham and had tea and scones, it would have been less stressful.

She turned the little girl to face her and squatted down to allow her to look directly into her eyes. Brushing away the wisps of hair that were escaping Sky’s ponytail, Claire inhaled deeply. “Sky, I know you want to explore, but you must listen to Auntie Claire. It’s very dangerous, leaning over the edge like that. What would your Mummy say if you fell and hurt yourself? Or worse?” Never mind what she’d do to me.

Sky hung her head. “Sorry, Auntie Claire. I’ve never been to a real castle before. I was pretending to be Rapunzel, trapped in the tower.” She shook her ponytail, which skimmed just below her shoulders. “I was letting down my hair. You know.”

It rang a bell in Claire’s mind, but she hadn’t read the story recently. A fact popped up. “Didn’t the prince fall and have his eyes poked out by a bramble bush?”

Sky stared at her, open mouthed, her eyes wide. Thinking that seemed a bit harsh for a children’s story, Claire shook her head to dismiss the image. “Ignore me; that must have been something else. So what happens when Rapunzel lets down her hair?” She stood and led the girl away from the yawning gap and back into the castle.

“She hits Flynn on the head with a frying pan and ties him to a chair.”

What? That’s definitely not the Brothers Grimm version I remember. Sounds much better though. So, Feminism reaches Disney? Probably not before time.

“Well, no hitting any boys on the head with frying pans when I’m around please.” She thought about her own bump to the head. A frying pan would have been a handy thing to have had in the dark lane when she was mugged. “Well, not unless they hurt you first at any rate.”

Feeling she had experienced enough of life trapped in a tower of stone, Claire waited until they were safely away from the railing before tilting her head and smiling at Sky. “Are you about ready for that chocolate cake?”


2 thoughts on “The Zen of Cleaning: 2013 365 Challenge #102

    • It’s my favourite Disney to date. Just been watching some on the ipad with little man. Apart from the freaky large eyes, they are a bit OTT. I want to watch Brave – only saw the first twenty mins and loved it.

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