Sometimes I repeat myself. Again and again and again. Even I get tired of listening to myself. It’s especially common for me to repeat myself when it comes to reminding the kids to pick up their toys. I remind them over and over again that when they’re done playing with something, they need to put it away…where it belongs, not where it’s convenient. It’s not that they’re opposed to cleaning up. They just don’t think to do it on their own.
Last week the kids were playing outside and I was planting some vegetables in the garden. I had the box with the gardening gloves and the garden tools out. William came by to see what I was doing and decided to put on his gloves. “Don’t forget to put them back in this box when you’re done, William.” “Okay, Mommy.” Off he went and the gardening gloves were out of my sight and out of my mind. I finished the planting, put back all the tools and put the box up on the shelf in the garage.
Early the next morning, I was standing by the open kitchen window, preparing breakfast when Daxson came out of his office. “Do you see what that squirrel has?” Daxson asked through the window. I looked but I only caught a glimpse of something white as the squirrel took off up the tree. “What was it?” I asked. Daxson and I both watched as the squirrel scampered up the tree to the very top branches and into her nest. “A garden glove.”
William overheard us and ran to the window. “My glove!” he exclaimed, “I need it!”
For once I didn’t have to say anything. I didn’t have to lecture. I didn’t have to explain. He saw the consequence of leaving toys out. Actions really do speak louder than words.
As I sat there thinking about it, I thought it strange that all the other toys were picked up. Everything except the gloves. Daxson walked over to the tree where the squirrel had taken the glove and found the other glove hanging on a branch. Suddenly it dawned on me. Grandma Nury had been over here the day before and I vaguely remembered she and Joseph had been playing a game of hot and cold. I wondered if maybe the gloves were the items for the game. I called and asked if she had seen the garden gloves and she said, “Oh yes, Joseph and I were playing hot and cold with them. I hung both gloves on a branch toward the bottom of the big tree. They should still be there.” I laughed and told her the story of the squirrel. It turns out maybe even Grandma Nury learned a lesson from the squirrel!
It’s been a week now and the glove is still in the squirrel’s nest. I imagine she found it to be quite comfy. We all laugh about it now (even William). While I’d like to say that this made such an imprint in my children’s minds that I never have to remind them to put their toys away, sadly that is not the case. But at least now instead of repeating myself over and over and over again, I just have to remind them of the squirrel and the glove and they quickly put things away…where they belong.