Monday, September 28, 2009

In love with the pink room. Again.

Next to the sunroom, the pink room has often been one of my favorite rooms.

Once upon a time it was a guest room. Then we painted it yellow, with green shades, a grass green crib (yes the one that is now the compost bin) and grass green rocking chair, with a beautiful rainbow mobile. I used to sit in there and rock and stare at the mobile for hours on end after work when I was expecting each girl.

I've spent countless hours in that room over the years, rocking babies, struggling to get little ones to stay in their new beds, playing puzzles and dress up and store and tea-party. It was easy to keep clean and lovely when they were too little to clean up without my help. But then there were two and then three. Three girls who went to school and started growing out of clothes at alarming rates and bringing home pictures colored with wide swipes of a crayon that only they could describe. "Horse? Elephant? House? Oh, it's your best friend - how lovely." Papers painted green or purple from edge to edge. Treat bags that had to be saved even though the candy and note were long gone.

I started to despise that room, and not because we painted it pink. Barbie shoes and plastic tiaras hidden on the carpet under innocent dress-up clothes were the enemy. Puzzle pieces were lost, clothes mingled with the dress-ups. Papers and broken toy parts I heartlessly suggested be thrown away ("Yes moommmmm," followed by a long sad sigh) mysteriously found themselves tucked in dresser drawers, on closet shelves behind games and under the beds. It made me crazy to go in there.

Almost two years ago we took everything out, sorted through the boxes of minutia, separated game parts and, well, junk. It took a week + to get it all back in... it was insane.

This weekend I was there again - at the point where I hated even to walk past and didn't dare enter the room with bare feet. It was particularly bad after an entire summer of playing and 'cleaning' episodes where the 4 year old sits on her bed while the 8 year old alternately reads or plays with whatever she's picked up, then frantically stashes things under the bed when she hears me coming to check on their progress.

So this weekend I cleared the floor and reclaimed some of Mira's dresses and shorts from the dress-up box. I filled a large garbage bag with papers, gum wrappers, scribbled notes, papers painted solid blue. I filled a second garbage bag with stuffed animals (note, the girls were sent outside at this point, and there are still two large baskets filled with the animals they play with). I sorted clothes and made them try everything on (and later sneaked a few too small favorites out of their closet). I turned one avalanche of a dresser into a dress up dream with containers of play rings, necklaces, hair do-dads. I recovered countless headbands and hair clips from Ponies and dolls heads so once again I can tame Mira's curly head. You don't want to know about the beaded dust bunnies I vacuumed. I (gasp) sorted out a box of books from one of the bookshelves. And - AND - I did all this without yelling. That alone is a miracle, but I suppose that if being horribly messy is their only fault then I guess I can just dig in and get it done.

Once again the room is lovely, calm, peaceful. Mira and I spent most of this morning actually sitting on the rug playing games, building puzzles, dressing dolls and reading. I love this part of parenting...

No, Natasha's room is NOT next. Thankfully she sorts her own clothes and can clean her own room when she feels the need, though I do have to talk to her about not shoving everything she no longer wears directly into Sarah's dresser whether it fits Sarah or not. I like it when the drawers actually close.

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