Roses are Red, Messes are Messy

My seven-year-old is going through a very irritating phase.*

*Actually he happens to be going through lots of very irritating phases* but this is the one I'm blogging about today.

*Good Lord I hope they're just phases.


Colin is going through a "but it's not my mess!" phase lately. Case in point: this morning after breakfast, Cameron was the first to put his cereal bowl in the dishwasher, but he left his spoon on the table. So when Colin went to put his bowl in the dishwasher, I said, "Hey Colin. Will you please put that other spoon in there when you go?"

He acted like I'd said, "Hey Colin. I'm going to let your little brothers trash the joint and then make you clean it up all by yourself. Bwahahahaha!"

"But it's not my spoon!" he whined in protest.

Seriously? It's a spoon. A spoon. And he was going to the dishwasher anyway. Much like that fruit snack package on the floor, that he happened to be walking past, that I asked him to pick up. Or the Wii remote that I asked him to put back in its basket, and he initially refused because this is the player two remote and I was player onnnnne! Not exactly unreasonable requests, right? Yet it's always the same these days: "But it's not mine!" And I end up snapping at him because it's ridiculous, and he ends up picking up whatever it is and then stomping around with an attitude. Ugh.

The other day I'd had enough and went off. "Do you realize how many messes I clean up that aren't mine?" I snarked. "I spend my whole day cleaning up messes that aren't mine. Practically my whole life right now is devoted to cleaning up messes that I didn't make!"

That seemed to get through to him a little bit at the time. But obviously it didn't have much of an effect on him because, you know, the spoon.


Anyway, since I can't figure out a good way to remedy the situation except to just hang on and hope he grows out of it, I've written a little poem. Because as y'all know if you've been around for a while, I like writing little poems. (View my other poetic masterpieces about cosleeping, Thanksgiving, vacuums, birth control, blogging, and my face by clicking on these respective links. You're welcome.)

Plus a bonus haiku that I didn't write, but totally wish I would've.

So here goes.

It's not my mess; I didn't do it.
So whoever made it had better tend to it.
You there, little infant, you've soiled yourself -
The diapers and wipes are up on the shelf.
Hey weak-stomached cat who barfed up your food -
I sure hope you're good with a paper towel, dude.
And yo, toddler, who "missed" and crapped on the floor -
Use the germ-killing wipes, they're right there in that drawer.
By the way, family? From now on I propose
That you all should wash dry fold and hang your own clothes.
I'm not doing your dishes or wiping your tracks,
Or sweeping the crumbs left behind by your snacks.
Not cleaning the windows smudged up by your fingers
Or ridding your bathroom of the odor that lingers.
Or scrubbing your bathtub, or the crayon on your door,
Or mopping the juice that you spilled on the floor.
It isn't my mess, so why should I do it?
It's not cleaning itself - I suggest you get to it.


  1. Spend a week refusing to take care of anything that isn't YOUR mess, and maybe he'll get the idea that being part of a family means pitching in regardless of whose mess it is.

  2. My kids fight over putting toys away- which is theirs and if they played with it or not. I tell them okay well, then I'll just throw out whatever is still left on the floor. I feel mean, but they make me crazy!

  3. Oh my gosh, the part about the cat needing to work a paper towel. Hilarious. I kind of do this still. Do hope your little guy doesn't take after me. I wouldn't be bothered by picking up after Ryan and his 6 billion glasses. Why can't the boy use only one cup and REFILL it??? FOR GOD'S SAKE ...

  4. That's awesome! I want to share that poem on facebook and make that roam the world! So perfect!!!

    (But I'm not the facebook sharing type so yer safe. lol)

    Has he acted out when any of the other brothers moved in? I know you can't reward attitude and crap like that but maybe he needs some tlc. Cause, you know, you're not busy or anything. :)

  5. Awesome and most assuredly appropriate for framing!

  6. You are so funny!!

    Sorry to say that it really doesn't get any better, well if my 10(almost 11)year old is "normal" anyway, he STILL(for YEARS now) says that very same phrase...

  7. Love this poem! However, you have a houseful of boys and they're usually not too disturbed by messes. (I know YOU are, though. Like mother, like daughter.)For your sake - and sanity - I hope he grows out of this phase!

  8. Just think if this concept went global... no more wars! No more hungry children! Could responsibility be the new black?!

  9. I LOVE this!!! You crack me up. :) Hang in there, it is just a PHASE, I think!!!!

  10. Dangit, I wrote a longwinded reply expressing my identification with the slobbiness of children (and other housemates). But my techno-boobery somehow got rid of it.
    ANYWAY, I think you might be lucky to have started to reign in this behavior at his tender age of 7. I was clueless and now have a 13 year old who forgets he should even eat off the plate, let alone clear it. Also he doesnt seem to realize that garbage cans exist in our house. He just chucks wrappers mid-stroll to his room (another story), or if we are outside, my bag becomes his trash receptacle (after all he is a "Save-the-Earth" type of boy and wouldn't DARE litter).

    Now we have a 4 year old and I am using her to back-teach him good habits. Like, "J., I would really like to teach your sister to clear her plates- could ya show her how to do it?"
    I am all about the sneak. :)


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