There are lots of things I like about our new house. I like that I can sit in the living room and look out into the garden.* I like having a garage and a driveway of sorts and not having to drive around the block for ages looking for a space to park. I even quite like having a bedroom back on the same floor as Bee and Belle and being able to hear them moving about.
One thing I’m not so sure about though is the carpets. They are cream. (Cream!) Throughout the entire house, including the bathrooms.
I’m not exactly well-coordinated at the best of times, (think me crying, unable to park a van), and will quite often just walk into door frames, but in the old house, this was OK, as we mainly had floorboards. Floorboards are much easier to wipe down when you uncontrollably slosh tea on them. Here though, nowhere is safe. I already dropped tomato on the carpet today from my mouth. My cream carpets don’t stand a chance.
The worst bit though is shoes. How do you train two unruly children to take their shoes off at the door?
I have a few ideas:
Distraction – It only takes a few seconds for them to remember, so to avoid them getting to the middle of the hall and going ‘Oh yeah!’, I need to dangle something like a malteser from the ceiling, just out of reach. In the time it takes them to figure out how to get it, (stood safely on the mat the whole time), they will have remembered about the shoes.
Positive reinforcement – This, so I’m led to believe, is the most effective approach to parenting. Whenever they take off their shoes at the door they get a little treat like a chocolate button, a pat on the head or the chance to stroke a kitten.
Negative reinforcement – I hire someone to stand by the door, and every time they forget to take off their shoes they get punched (in a gentle, child-friendly way), in the side of the head.
Desperate times and all that.
*I make it sounds like I occasionally glance up and admire the view. What actually happens is that I find myself staring out at nothing in particular for minutes at a time. I’m tired though. I’m sure the staring will improve.