In the myth of Sisyphis, the king, due to his arrogant, blatant disobeying of the Greek Gods, is forced to roll a rock up a hill. When he gets near to the top of the hill, the rock slips away from him and he must re-start the task again, for eternity.
My Sisyphean task is cleaning. *
My library has the (dis)advantage of providing not just books but an experience as we have toys, coloring and activity sheets and puzzles for your pleasure. As a parent, it was great bringing The Bee, Dill and Arboo up there and letting them have at it while I got a few minutes with a People magazine. As the Coordinator of said section, the same things that I loved now drive me bananas!
There are families who come and use the space as it was intended: spend time with the kiddos, enjoy the space and then PUT AWAY what they use and keep it moving.
Then there are the families that make me want to turn tail and run.
I get that I am fortunate in that I have a mom and sister available to pick up The Bee and keep an eye on her when I have to work late or when her school is closed for yet another Teacher In service Day. I get that I am really fortunate that she is old and mature enough to come and hang out at work with me until I someone is available to watch her. This summer I made an executive decision to let her not do camp this summer; we all need down time right?
It seems that lots of folk in my neck of the woods have decided that in lieu of paid camp they would send their kids ages nine (a fuzzy nine) and above to the library and they think this is camp Rachee.
Kids are messy in general. Unattended, unstructured kids are worse! Hourly it seems that I am chasing the mess, trying to get a handle on the crap that kids have thrown around. Looking for Junie B Jones? Check under the couch! Looking for that new book on space, check the stove (incidentally this is where the baby usually lays). Can’t find the crayons? Check the shopping cart!
There are times that I swear I am being set up! There can be a room full of kids, all happily creating a mess, um playing. If I move away from my desk, to say, hit the stacks for a book, go to the circ desk for something or even go make a few copies the kids all disappear and I am left to sort puzzles and crayons. No matter how many reminders – gentle and not so as well as slight threats – I still find the mess fairies come and do their dirt.
Sadly, the adults are not better! I know the routine: weary, the parents point out the toys to the kids and the parents or adult will sigh as they flop on the couch to peruse the latest Essence, Better Homes or other reading material. The kids gleefully trash my room and then with out a thought, the parents will tell the kid that its time to go.
On the occasions that I have caught the mess makers and remind them that part of play is cleaning, I am met a range of responses: Oh! So and so, come pick up your mess to ‘We didn’t have this!’
This week, I let loose with a full on bitchfit. When I walked into my room I found not only a room full of unattended LOUD kids (kids who bum rushed me as I walked in loaded with bags) but discovered that one had broken into the LOCKED toy chest and there were toys and books and papers and crayons and a whole bunch of other kid paraphernalia all over t he place I lost it. As I made a choice not to screech like a banshee, I let the red blur my vision and went full on mommy mode: quiet voice, even tone and mommy stare of death.
My room has been clean for two days.
My name is not Florence,
*At times I think I am being punished by a higher being.