blank slate syndrome

okay, to be honest, i’ve seen this syndrome before.  i used to nanny and work in a day care, and i remember having this observation long before i had my own house and my live-in child to teach and re-teach this momma many things.

something ellise has reminded me of recently is the existence of blank slate syndrome.

here is my daughter, making a mess in her bedroom… see how happy she is? ;)

my daughter likes to play in the living room.  this is fine, although not what i originally envisioned.  when brian and i bought our house, we thought the living room would be the always-presentable room and that the den would be the disaster area.  (and all the other parents reading this are smirking at our naïveté… it’s okay.  i understand now… 😉 ) but, for whatever reason (probably the fact that the living room is where brian and i spend most of our time, so that’s where ellise parks it, too), it is simply not the case right now.  the den also gets better light, due to the french doors to our backyard, which means that’s where the plants get placed in the winter.  and as any person with a small child or dog knows, smeared and scattered potted soil isn’t exactly carpet friendly. so, ellise isn’t allowed in there unless she’s gated in the pack-in-play (which i don’t like to do too often) or is very-directly supervised.

so, because the living room is the first thing you see when you walk into the house, i prefer it to end the day straightened up.  75% of the time, this happens.  but there are some nights– especially if i’ve spent the evening grading– that i just can’t muster up the will power to do it before bed.

something i’ve noticed is that the morning when there is still yesterday’s mess, my daughter lacks the motivation to play.  the toys are scattered all around her, but yet, there is nothing.  she looks at me.  i point to her toys.  she looks at me.  and then she sits on the floor.  bored.

so then she tries to play with any cord she can find.

yet, on the mornings she finds a clean living room, energy abounds!  it’s like she thinks to herself, “there is SO MUCH MESS i can make here!” and off she goes, yanking out toys like it is Christmas and she’s never seen them before.  she plays much more contentedly and longer.  it’s like dirtying a clean room is the job that is set before her– and my daughter will complete this task, so help her.  (and me.)

sometimes, it tires me– the energy behind the delight of her destroying my house.

but then i think about it.

don’t i thrive better when i feel like my space– and my life, really– is uncluttered?  when there is stuff– whether that is material crap lying around in heaps in my house or emotional junk that needs to be cleared from my soul– don’t i just feel like sitting in the middle of it all and do absolutely NOTHING?

there’s no potential in mess.

so, instead of seeing my daughter’s exuberance over messing up a clean room as another thing for me to do, i should see it as a reminder.

we all work better and thrive with blank slates.

artists do their best work on clean canvases, right?

so, just like i clean up the living room at the end of the day for/because of my daughter, maybe i should work a little harder about decluttering other areas of my house– and my heart.

it’s stifling to look around and be burdened by heaps of junk… when instead, i could delight in potential.

anyone with me?

anyone else up for a clean sweep? :)


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