...the cat will go through her room and clear out bags and bags of precious belongings (or garbage, depending upon one's perspective).
Clover is at my parents' house this week, which has been so much nicer than I ever imagined. Normally Rocket is so closely attached to Clover that he asks to look at pictures of her while she is away at camp for the morning. I thought he'd sob while looking longingly into her room, missing his big sister/security blanket, but I had that kid all wrong. On day one he asked where she was, I said "Nonnie and Papa Bob's," he said "oh" and never looked back.
Rocket has loved every second of being an only child this week, basking in the glow of undivided attention from both parents at the same time. I forgot how much easier life is with only one child. I mean, when I had only Clover, I knew it was easier than having two or more, but like walking with ankle weights, you don't really appreciate how easy it is to walk without the weights until you take them off. Without the extra 37 pounds hanging off of me this week, I set out with an ambitious to-do list, knowing that the best time to remove anything from Clover's room is when she is not looking. She is a pack rat and would hang on to every scrap paper, bead and sequin ever collected in her life if I would let her. By late Tuesday, six large shopping bags were full of old clothes and toys, earmarked for charities and friends, but this is only the half way mark. I have the final third of her closet to clean (why is her closet so much bigger than mine?) and several more clothing bins in her armoire. I haven't even started with the games, puzzles or books yet.
Before cleaning, my first big concern was how to distract her when she returns. A quick inventory of her room would set off alarms in her head, so I need to focus her attention on something else, something so exciting for her that she won't think - or care - to look around her room to see what may be missing or merely touched (she freaks out when anything in her museum of garbage is ever "touched"). The solution came Saturday night when I decided a work table would sufficiently blow her little mind. She always has five projects going on at once on the craft table in the family room, leaving glue and scissors always in Rocket's reach, so why not move some of this into her room where it should pretty much be out of Rocket's reach thanks to a baby gate and I won't have to look at the mess throughout the day? We found the perfect table/desk at Ikea for $35, plus picked up a pink chair and a pink vase with some fake Gerber daisies. The mouse trap has been set.
Now to tackle the other 17 things on the list.