Ground your way to a cleaner house

By Mir
February 3, 2007

The children—have I mentioned?—have had a run of bad luck lately. And bad luck is what it is, because none of it is their fault. Just ask them! They will tell you! It’s just that the universe, well, it is cruel.

So cruel, in fact, that they are both currently grounded. Now, grounding a 7-year-old and an 8-year-old is tricky, because what can I do? Make them miss the prom? No dates? Turn over the bong? Mostly it means that there is no television and no computer. Now we all know that I would shrivel up and die under such an edict, but the kids are actually doing just fine. Which is rather not the point of them being grounded.

So today we all did some housecleaning. There are tasks that I typically allow them to handle and feel confident they can manage without making an even larger mess for me to clean up later, but they finished them and wanted more assignments. In fact, they begged to scrub the floor.

Eventually I silenced my inner control freak and let them have at it. Monkey managed to leave giant puddles everywhere without actually removing any dirt, but Chickadee was extremely conscientious. Though I began to question my judgment when I heard her call out, “You can call me Annie. Maybe later we’ll sing.”


  1. Kris

    Y’know, Mir. There are children everywhere who would just love to have a floor of their own to clean and a rag of their own to do it with. How dare you give those children rags instead of making them make it themselves first. Sheesh. So pampered those two are. *snort*

    My kids love to sing Hard Knock Life or Cinderella while cleaning the floor on their hands and knees. It’s hardly seen as work around here.

    And you’d think the floor would be a whole lot cleaner because of it.

    (Now if only I could get them to do the playroom in that manner. Alas, the garbage patrol must do it. Apparently magically, in the middle of the night.)

  2. meritt

    ROTFL at the “You can call me Annie” statement.

  3. Sara

    I feel I must let my children do the jobs they beg to do while they are still young and naive enough to beg. Heaven knows that the day is coming (almost here for my 10 y.o.) when they will NOT think it’s cool to mop floors, load the washer, and wash any dishes that don’t fit into the dishwasher. Yep, it’s a hard-knocks life, baybee!

  4. Daisy

    Oh, it’s the hard knock life, being grounded at Mir’s house!

  5. Delton

    Love the photo. You always crack me up!

  6. Niki

    I’ve always thought that grounding was much harder on the parents than the children. You take away the things that keep you sane, and spend all your time finding things that entertain them enough to leave you alone, but not enough to be fun!

    Once when we were in crisis cleaning mode at my house, my then 3 yo daughter was underfoot and driving me nuts. I put her to “work” with a sponge and a bowl of soapy water, washing the bottom cabinets (hey, they couldn’t look worse, right?). Not half an hour later, she was in there singing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” at the top of her lungs while scrubbing, and having a blast. It was all I could do not to wet myself!

  7. Sharon

    Great photo! I love it.

  8. rachel

    love it! My girls and their best friend love playing orphan. it’s their favorite game.

    My 6 1/2 year old will wander around in clothes like Chickadee is wearing, while my 8 year old is in full eskimo gear. I think I need to have my kids clean tomorrow. brilliant idea.

  9. Woman with Kids

    She’s pretty funny… Did you sing to her?

  10. Mom2One

    Hey, what would be the fun of having only smiling pictures? That’s what I said to myself anyways, the days when I took pictures of Nate when he wailed and I said, “I’ll pick you up and comfort you as soon as I get just one good picture.” ;)

  11. Otto

    I am SO HAPPY they’re coming to visit soon. My kitchen floor needs some work. Bring your toothbrushes kids!

  12. David

    Otto cracks me up! Oh, those poor wee fingers. *tsk, tsk*

  13. Lady M

    I totally sing “It’s a Hard Knock Life” when I’m cleaning. I also love the “Little Girls” song by Miss Hannigan.

    Some women are dripping with diamonds
    Some women are dripping with pearls
    Lucky me, lucky me, look at what I’m dripping with
    Little Girls! (and boys, I add for my particular case when I’m trying to juggle all the kiddo’s stuff)

  14. Cele

    I feel rooked. My daughter never asked to help clean anything… grounded or just bored. It is a cruel universe.

  15. tori

    My daughter used to beg me to let her clean and then insist that I call her Cinderella. Kids are very funny even when they don’t mean to be!

  16. petite mommy

    Love the pic! My boys like to clean & help out too…If only their love for cleaning would continue as they got older.

  17. Steff

    Chickadee is such a good girl! Cute pic!

  18. MMM

    That. Is. So. Funny.

  19. Jenn2

    That reminds me of last month, when I told Drama Queen she was grounded and she rolled her eyes. She asked, “From what? I’m already grounded from everything!”

    She wound up stacking wood. She did not sing. She cried and screamed that she was going to be dehydrated. It was FUN!
    Since that went so well, I have developed a list of chores that she HATES and now pull from those. Oddly enough, they are chores that I also hate. Quel Coincidence!

  20. carson

    Cleaning the floor is a treat for my kids. We move all the furniture to the high side of the room and dump soapy water on the floor. (Yes, my floor slopes. Want to come over to play marbles?) Then depending on my mood, I either yodel “Sing Sweet Nightingale” as Anastasia–perfectly exhibiting my singing ability–or put sponges on our feet as we scrub a la Pippi Longstocking.

    Never thought about Annie. Looks like the floors around here are a tad bit grungy. . .

  21. Dana

    Oh my gosh! I’m gonna die of laughter. The girl is wise beyond her years. ;)

  22. Melanie

    Oh, somebody’s a fiesty one. I love that! And if your kids are still bored, you can send them to my house – it definitely needs a good scrubbing (especially by someone small who can fit in all the corners behind the furniture that we big people can’t reach…)

  23. Karen

    My mom used to tell us that we had to scrub the floors and the baseboards because we were “closer to the floor.” That only worked until we were about 11 or 12, because my mom is only 5’2″.

    My children are just like yours — they beg to help me clean. I am the one who says no, because their version of clean is usually just more work for me!

    Clearly, we are not exploiting the child labor market nearly as much as we should if our children think that cleaning is fun!

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