Month: September 2014

5 Tips For Getting Your Kids To Clean Their Rooms



Mr. Perfect Dad (MPD): Greetings! I’m Mr. Perfect Dad. The last time that I was here, it didn’t go so well. However, I am a parenting EXPERT. My methods are proven and I’d love another opportunity to show you all!

Mike (M): What’s up!  It’s your boy Mike here. I’m always open for help, even from this guy, so I invited him back.  See, one problem I’m having is that my kids are slobs. B and J love making messes, but they hate cleaning them. It’s a huge pain in the-

MPD: But of course, Mike! Don’t worry, you’re not alone. A lot of parents have issues with tidy up time. However, if you take my advice, soon tidy up time will be your children’s favourite part of the day!

M: Really? No lie? Sweet! B and J are upstairs reading some books. Wanna put your tips to use?

(Mike and Mr. Perfect Dad go upstairs and see this):





MPD: Great. Googly. Moogly (heavy sigh).  Let’s get to work.



MPD: Make cleaning up fun! I like to create  silly little songs. Haha. Hoho. Do you kids know “Faith” by George Michael? (starts singing) Because I got to just clean, clean, clean! 

M: I don’t think many two and four year olds know that song, or who George Michael is.

J: George? (she picks up a stuffed monkey).

M: Ha! I wonder if Curious George’s last name is Michael. Hey B, did you like that song?

B: I don’t like George Michael, I like Shawn Michaels (starts singing) I’m just a sexy boy! Sexy boy! I’m not a boy toy!

MPD: What….

M: Shawn Michaels. The wrestler. It’s his theme song.

MPD: I’m not quite sure how I feel about little boys calling themselves sexy.

M: Let’s go with emotionally conflicted. And I’m not quite sure how I feel about this tip. What else you got?


MPD: Try to instill a sense of pride and ownership in your kids, so they’ll be more inclined to want to clean up their rooms! I’ll show you.  Ms. J, come pick up these books. Don’t you want your room to be so spiffy that Cinderella would love it?

J: No. I’m scared.

MPD: Scared of what?

J: A mouse! (She runs off and hides in the playroom)

MPD: You neglected to inform me of a rodent problem.

M: You know what they say….when in doubt, blame the mouse.

MPD: No one has ever said that!

M: Oh.

MPD: OK, B, how about you pick up some books? I’ll even let you choose which shelf to put them on.

B: No thanks. This room is too dirty. I’m going to mommy and daddy’s room. It’s cleaner there.

M: Good call. Let’s go.



MPD: Children can be too smart for their own good. Some good ol’ reverse psychology can alleviate that.

M: Reverse psychology! Ygolohcysp

MPD: Huh? No. Just……no.  B! I bet that you can’t put 10 books away. You’re not strong enough to do that, are you?

B: I think that I need to think about that first, by watching some TV (Leaves room).

MPD: Fine! At least J is here. She’s just a baby girl, though. She can’t tidy up like a big kid. Right?

J: I’m sleeping! (Immediately drops to the floor, starts to snore).

MPD: Is she really asleep? Wake up! Putting books away is easy! Look! (starts placing books on the shelf)

M: Uh, El Perfecto, I think that they flipped the script and got you to clean up for them.

MPD: Silence! I am the expert!

M: Right. Expert book stacker. Nice job. Are you a librarian?

MPD (now sobbing): What happened to me?


MPD: Deep breaths. Compose yourself, Mr Perfect Dad. We’ll win them over yet.

M: Who are you talking to?

MPD: Next tip. Children get overwhelmed rather easily.  As such, I recommend breaking up tasks into chunks so they don’t seem too taunting. I’ll demonstrate. B, can you pick up the books off your bed? Only those ones?

B: But she made that mess, not me! Let her go first, tidying up!

J: Let go?! (Starts dancing and singing ‘Let it Go’)

MPD: BLARGH!  I HATE FROZEN! Please, J, just put one thing away. Can you do that? Then after that, put one more-

J: One? OK! (Puts a book on shelf). All done! (Dances off, singing ‘Let It Go’)

B: Well I’m just putting one book away, too. There!  Can I have a snack now?

MPD: Did all of that hard work make you hungry?! What about the rest of these books? WHAT ABOUT THEM?

M: Uhhh…. yeah, what about them? What do you suggest, now?


MPD: Bribery time! You guys want snacks? If you clean this room up, I’ll take you to the fair! You can eat all of the candy and junk food you want, and then you can stay up and watch the demolition derby after! Does that sound good?

B: Well……….junk food is not healthy and I like healthy snacks. The derby would be past my bedtime, too. So no thanks.

MPD: Are you serious? You gotta be freakin’ kidding me! That’s it! I’m out of here! I’m going to the fair. I’m going to drink some beer and eat some deep fried pickles. Then, I’m going to ride the Tea Cups until I barf, hopefully all over some kids who look like they’re two or four years old.

M: That’s harsh, dude. Can you bring me back a candy apple, though?

MPD: Because of my last visit here, my reputation has been ruined! I don’t have children. I don’t even like them. That’s right, my career is a lie. And I would have gotten away with it, if it wasn’t for your kids!

M: Dang. Sorry about your luck. You sound like the bad guy in those Scooby Doo cartoons, who just got caught. Now about that candy apple –

MPD: No apple! Goodbye! (runs out of the house, slams door, gets in car, squeals off)

M: See ya.  Thanks for the tips! Man, that guy is not happy.  Whatever. Yo, B and J, go pick those books up. I’ll make some popcorn and we can watch Frozen after.

J: Yay!

B: OK! (starts singing) I’m just a sexy boy! Sexy boy! I clean up my toys!

Note: while mainly a fictitious post, the actions depicted by B and J, when asked to tidy up, have actually occurred at various times in our house.


Like A Puzzle


Yep, September’s here, so that means one thing –  back to school time for kids.

That picture above is from last year, on B’s first day of kindergarten. Now, I’m a cool dude, but I can’t front. That day was pretty emotional. My lil man was now a little man, gettin’ his edumucation on!

From then on, I honestly thought that things would be like how they were on those TGIF television shows from the 1990s.  You know, we’d come home,  sit around the dinner table, and talk about our day. B would regale us with tales of his scholastic adventures.  Maybe there would be canned laughter from a studio audience.

Turns out TV mislead me again. Tanner family, we are not.

Tonight, on a very special episode of Full House....

Tonight, on a very special episode of Full House….

See, it was a two fold problem. Both of which were mad frustrating.

First off, B wouldn’t tell us anything. Almost every question about school got met with him not wanting to talk.  The best example of this was when I asked him what he did that day, so he did the Run-DMC pose (feet wide, arms crossed, chin out) and told me “No more voices!”


B-Boy stance, that's it right there.

B-Boy stance, that’s it right there.



Occasionally, I did have relatively productive talks with him. I had to be a French guy named Jesse, though. Jesse (me) would ask him questions in French.  I, as myself, would translate them into English for B, and he would answer, which I, as me, would then translate into French for Jesse (me) to understand.

Confusing, right? And I don’t even speak French. But at least he was telling me stuff.

That leads to the other problem.  Some of the stuff that he would tell us, just flat out wasn’t true.  Children have the craziest imaginations, I get that. Kindergarten-aged ones are still learning how to interact with people, sure.  Regardless, the stuff that came out of his mouth would vary from slight exaggerations, to full out lies. I had no idea that in addition to the 3 R’s, he was also learning how to do the big F (Fib. Get your mind out of the gutter).
One time during the first month, I asked him what he did that day. He said the class went on a bear hunt. One of the bears scared him.

Another time, he told me girls liked to touch his hair. When they did, he would pat them on the back.

He told us that no one liked him and all he wanted was a friend. Now, of course, you don’t want your kids thinking school is a popularity contest.  This was still a little troubling to hear, however. I figured that I’d ask his teachers about it on ‘Parent Teacher Night’, which was like a week later. So,  when that night came around, B and I headed over to his school. We got to his classroom….and he immediately ran off and started playing with some other kids. While he was playing, some other boy called him over, to play. I heard that boy’s mom say that B was someone who she ‘heard a lot about.”

When I did tell his teacher what he said to us, she stared at me with the most confused look, as if she had no idea what I was saying (you know, like that look you get when you try to explain the plot of the movie Inception to someone who’s never seen it. ‘Wait, so they go into people’s dreams? And plant ideas? Do they use soil and dirt, to plant them?  Do they shrink and go through the sleeping person’s ear?’).


I…I can’t deal with this right now. Just watch the movie, OK?

B’s teacher told me that B got along with everyone!

After that, we left his room and did a tour of his school. As we were walking around, kids and adults kept saying hi to him, like he was Zack Morris or something. On our way out of the school, we bumped into another one of his friends. This kid’s parents also said that they had heard so much about B. B and his buddy were ‘partners in crime’, they said.  WTF. When we got home, I asked him what the dilly-yo was, and why did he say that no one liked him, when that wasn’t true at all. He stared at me with the most confused look, as if he had no idea what I was saying (you know, like that look you get when you try to explain to someone who doesn’t know who Kim Kardashian is, why she’s famous. ‘Wait, so she doesn’t sing or act or dance? What’s her talent then? What do you mean she doesn’t have one?’).

Look, I can't explain it. Just talk to Kanye about Kim, alright? photo:

Look, I can’t explain it. Just talk to Kanye about Kim, alright?
photo source:


As the year went on, his communication got better. The fibbing did, as well. He said the most ridiculous things with a straight face. And not just when it came to school!

A  few months ago, our neighbour came over and asked how many children we had.  It was a weird question, because, while we were still fairly new to the ‘hood,  we had chatted with her frequently, and B and J had played with her kids several times.  I told her that we had two and asked why. Apparently, B, in all seriousness, told her that he had another brother who we kept locked up and never let out. Our neighbour was shocked, but when she asked what his name was, B hesitated, so she thought that he might not be telling the truth. #lolkidssaythedarndestthings.




We’re still working on the ‘honesty is the best policy’ thing. It’s a work a progress, no doubt.

Anyway, for real, imagine trying to do a puzzle with 1000 pieces. You got your pile set aside, and you’re trying to work it out. Now, imagine someone dumping another 1000 piece puzzle into the pile that you were working on. I don’t know what your conversations are like with your kids but, sometimes, that’s what it’s like trying to talk to mine. You’re just trying to put the pieces together to get the full picture, while removing the pieces that clearly don’t belong.

Happy school year, y’all.

Good luck with your puzzles.