A few weeks ago, I was perusing Craigslist and found a pair of matching end tables that I will eventually paint for each of the girls to use as night stands. They were in great shape. Solid oak. Probably around 80 years old and heavy duty enough to stand up to the use and abuse the girls will put them through. Each has a shallow drawer that runs the length and width of the table as well as a small cupboard on the top with doors that look like picture frames. They're going to be perfect for the girls, and I can't wait to get them painted.
In the meantime, Scooter has been using hers since we brought it home. The drawer is perfect for her bracelets, headphones and mp3 player and her belts. She loves being able to pick out which bracelets she's going to wear for school, and she loves putting them away. But when Hopper scoops everything up and tosses it in The Blue Basket, they don't always get put away, and it makes for a very frustrating search, not to mention broken necklaces. They end up getting tangled in her strings, and when she tries to separate necklace from shoestring, the necklace almost always breaks.
Unfortunately, I've had to take a lot of her necklaces away, because they've broken, or to prevent such a fate for those that have somehow survived her clutches. Some necklaces went in the trash, and others were saved to be mended at some point when I had time.
Yesterday, I had time.
I was working in the kitchen when I came across a small paper bag that I'd put some of the broken necklaces. I decided to mend them, and I had them all laid out on the couch for Scooter to see when she came home from school. She was absolutely thrilled! She wanted to wear all of them, but I told her that she could only wear 2, because we didn't want them to break. Then I explained that they needed to be hung up, so they didn't get tangled or broken. She would know exactly where they were when she got ready for school, and it would be easy for her to pick out the one she wanted to wear that day.
She did really well with leaving the necklaces where she'd hung them for several hours. Right before before bed, she did try to take them down to put them in the drawer, but I explained again that I would have to take them away, if she took them down. I'm really hoping I finally got through to her.
Because Hopper and I had another talk yesterday, she helped keep Scooter on track tonight instead of adding to the problem. When Scooter tried adding Hubster's shirt to her basket, Hopper took it in our bedroom for me, and Scooter was fine with it. Normally, she'd have gotten frustrated and retrieved the shirt for herself, so it was a step in the right direction.
I am so proud of both of them, and I'm incredibly hopeful that we finally have this under control. I will keep enlisting Hopper in the battle that lies ahead, and I will continue to let them know how proud of them I am that they are helping to keep their rooms clean and keep the mess out of the living room.
After all, it was a lot easier to only carry The Blue Basket into the bedroom last night than it was to carry a quarter of the contents of her bedroom back in there.
Unfortunately, when we woke up this morning and got Scooter up to get ready for school, we saw that she had taken all of her scarves and necklaces back down and put them in her basket. I reminded her that she would not be able to wear either a scarf or a necklace to school today, and that I would be putting them up when she was gone. I'd told her before she went to bed last night what the consequence would be, and I do believe she understood. But she also has always loved to push the limits and see how serious I am about something.
This morning she needed to know I was serious.
When she got home, the first thing she did was sign that she was sorry. In fact, she did it most of the evening. She was wanting so badly to get her hands on her things. I explained that we'll try again tomorrow, but if she takes them down and puts them in her basket she will be grounded, and I will have to remove them again.
There's no doubt that it's going to be a battle. But it is a battle worth fighting, and it's a battle that can be won.
Several years ago, she would untie her shoes at least 20 times an hour. It was exhausting, but we finally broke her of the habit. It helped that I had the backing of her teachers and aides. And it helped when I realized that she had to have her shoe laces tied perfectly. She needed the bows to be symmetrical and they needed to be triple tied. She counted. Every. Single. Time. She still does, and if you don't do it right, she sticks her foot out for you to try it again.
It took quite awhile to get her to relax enough with her shoe laces that she could allow asymmetry or only double knots from time to time. She doesn't seem to have much of a problem with it anymore, so we have hope that we can break this habit eventually, too.
It's going to take work, but with Hopper actually helping instead of 'helping', I know we can do this. Scooter needs to be comfortable with just being able to see that the necklaces and scarves are there and that she doesn't have to have them with her all the time.
It's going to be an uphill battle for sure, but we've got our figurative hiking boots on.
Compulsive hoarding is a mental disorder that is just beginning to be understood. As a hoarder, I have acquired things over the years with a specific purpose in mind at the time of the acquisition, used some of those items for their intended purposes, forgotten the goal for different objects, but now that I find that they have outlived their purpose in my life I am struggling to rid myself of those same things.
You can read the start of my journey here.