I've been on a rampage lately. Cracking down on my children for the fact that they don't take care of their things. The things they supposedly love.
I dangle a toy by its ear over the trashcan: "Emma, I found this outside in the rain. It is soaking wet. And dirty. I think I may have even heard it crying last night during the thunderstorm. You must not love this toy because you don't take very good care of it."
She yelps and squeals in terror leaping for the toy and clutching it to her chest, a long-lost prodigal toy returning home.
"Okay. If you really love that toy, show it to me by putting it where it belongs. Put it somewhere safe."
It usually doesn't get this dramatic. And usually my children know that I won't throw away their favorite toy. (I'd at least give it to Goodwill. Kidding. kind of.) But generally it gets my point across, they learn something from it.
And that lasts for five minutes.
So today when I had the sheer pleasure of birthday present shopping for a young cousin, with all three children along for the trip, Emma became extremely attached to one of these mewing, purring, robotic "Fur Real" toys. (yuck.) And when I say attached I mean like she might perish if she has to live without it. I mean tears walking down the aisles of the store with longing looks over her shoulder in the general direction of the "fake pets" aisle.
You'd think the girl could settle for the real stuff. The fact that she has five mewing kittens on her mudroom porch. And four purring ones hanging out in the back yard. But I guess our kittens don't come with purple-flowered carrying cases and pink plastic brushes. (gag.)
So we made a pact. Right there in the store, we shook on it. She dried her eyes, collected herself and made an agreement.
I'm beginning to think I went easy on her. Fourteen days? Maybe I should have made it forty.
But I'll be watching her every move. Tallying up the toys left behind, left out, out of place. She's got to keep up her end of the deal. Fur real this time.