In preparation for guests I have coming over tonight, I set the timer for 6 minutes and asked Alexis to help me pick up the toys in the living room. I told her we had to hurry and beat the timer, which of course, warrants a
"why do we have to beat the timer mommy?"
"because...something...will...happen if we don't".
I couldn't think of something, so I looked to Jeremy for assistance. "If you don't beat the timer the house will fall over!" Which I think spurred Alexis' bright idea: "Oh, we'll fall into the worm's house if the timer beeps!"
I set the timer and off she ran, picking up anything in her path and throwing it into the toy box. A stethoscope, a naked barbie, a movie, some pretzel sticks, Tyler, some slippers. She's never moved so fast while being productive at the same time. Then, about a minute in the crying starts.
"Mom, I don't want to fall into the worms hole. The worm's hole is scary. The timer is going to beep!"
"It's okay, I'll protect you from the worm. We have lots of time, keep working."
A dance mat, several balls, more dolls, a toy tractor. About 3 minutes in the crying has been replaced by heaving panting.
"Mom, how much time do we have? I'm tired of this. I want to be done, I don't want to fall into the worm's hole."
"Keep working honey, we're almost done. We've got 3 minutes left."
With a minute to spare all the toys are picked up, we are victorious to live another day. I'd say this new method is a keeper; extremely effective, and only a little traumatizing. Isn't that how all great moms work? Time to clean the bedroom!