As I write this, the Boywonder is still supervising a complete clear, clean and tidy of MsDD’s room. He has finally snapped but, rather than resigning himself exhaustedly to her constant disobedience, to the squalor of his next door neighbour, he has taken matters into his own hands.
As the OH and I walked the dogs this morning, the Boywonder stood as a sentinel in MsDD’s bedroom, while she in her fury and resentment, told him repeatedly to leave. Early this afternoon he called me in as a reinforcement and by about 4pm, all four of us were in her small personal space trying to undo the damage and squalor that has built up over the eight years since we returned from living in Paris.
I should explain: our cleaning lady comes every Monday morning. When we are not a building site, she cleans upstairs one week and downstairs the next. This does not mean, of course, that the place isn’t cleaned between her visits, but her job is to spend time actually cleaning the bathrooms and bedrooms rather than tinkering around the edges.
What I refuse to accept is that my children can make a huge mess in their bedrooms for her to tidy and to this end varying amounts of time are spent on Sunday afternoons and evenings frantically tidying up before her arrival on Monday mornings. In theory, that is. In practice we find that MsDD spends inordinate amounts of time in her room on Sundays NOT tidying up but instead finding every more elaborate places in which to stuff her belongings in the hope that we won’t notice the following day.
Of course we do notice but there is never enough time before our cleaner arrives to do much about it. It has become so I dread even opening her door because I can’t bear to face the filth. You’ll have seen lurid photographs posted on here but she has had dirty ice cream bowls and coffee mugs mouldering away in her knicker drawer or in the vanity unit cupboard under her sink in her shower several times. No amount of shouting or punishment seems to make her learn how to use her bin or her washing basket.
I am aware of all of this. I find it arrogant and disgusting and entitled and all those things. I have grounded her; stopped her pocket money; confiscated her laptop and phone and tried to find other ways of punishing her and making her think, all to no effect. My real worry is that this behaviour of hers is some hoarding mental illness and her complete lack of organisation and failure to perform to the required standard in exams are symptomatic of this. I can’t tell you how anxious this all makes me.
The Boywonder, by contrast, has been an absolute star this week while we were both out of the country but now he seems to have acquired an appetite for hard work it’s difficult to keep him away from it. Yesterday while we were out, he did several loads of laundry and walked the dogs, cleaned out his bathroom and cleared it of clutter and did practically all of the ironing, leaving me none to do this morning. While we were out with the dogs today, he did more laundry (my silk kurtas and churidars from my India trip) finished off the ironing and made the lunch.
I have no idea what’s come over him. It’s absolutely incredible. This afternoon I found myself sending him outside with the dogs for five minutes so that I could actually do the washing up in our temporary kitchen before he got there.
Then he started on MsDD’s bedroom and now, at 11pm, is still there. He feels the same anger and frustration towards MsDD’s squalid existence and I feel vindicated but still angry that the confrontation-phobic OH seems to blame me for having a daughter like this. Why isn’t he more angry? Why doesn’t he tell her off and punish her? It’s really frustrating. Many people have told me that girls are worse than boys in the tidiness of their rooms. The BW’s room, having gone through an untidy few years, is now positively Spartan, and my experience bears this out.
On the subject of parenting, I had a strange experience today.
Though she is currently so grounded, I let MsDD go off to the Pride event in London yesterday with her friends, as it’s an historic occasion. Although I fretted a little about her safety among so many people, I am not an over-protective parent. She is 15 and she has to learn. She has Find my Friends on her phone and London is only 10 miles away so in an emergency we could be there in half an hour, I guess. I feel really strongly that it is wrong to wrap children up in cotton wool and then expect them at 18 suddenly to go out into an alien world.
I mentioned this on Twitter and had a brief conversation with @Olympians, a friend, self-deprecatingly labelling myself with the hashtag #parentfail. It was good natured, ironic banter and in no sense serious.
This morning, I dfound that a US Bot called @parentfail had picked up our Twitter exchange and posted it on a site that highlighted the failings of parents, to the effect that some people should not be parents. I was outraged that my ironic chat had been taken so out of context to make me potential bait for all sorts of fundamentalist, judgemental trolling from people who had no idea about the original conversation.
I referred publicly to the site and blocked the Bot but, to my huge gratifcation at least six or seven of my friends on Twitter came out immediately in my support, with a couple trying to bait the Bot. I am tremendously touched by your kindness, dear friends. Twitter is truly the best and worst of humanity right there.
Wasps seem to have nested behind my bathroom wall in the eaves of our house. At first I thought that the builders had interfered with plumbing that made a sound like a constant trickle of water onto the ground below but we could see no water. The OH investigated by poking his head out of the door that leads to a glass balustrade and saw wasps exiting and entering through some small hole that must have happened somlehow.
I don’t like wasps but do understand that they have to go somewhere. I don’t want to kill them, because it goes against the grain, but I have had allergic reactions to wasp stings before and they seem to become aggressive without warning, the vehement bastards. I am hoping they will just buzz off and swarm somewhere else in time but every time I go into my bathroom the noise of their brittle little exoskeletons as they crawl over their nest and each other is really disconcerting. One sting and I swear, the pest controllers will be in.