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Introducing Miss Fly

March 3, 2012

Fly ladey rocks!!!

When she was small, one of my daughter’s favourite books was the Higgledy Piggledy Pigs. It’s about a family of anthropomorphic pigs that live in unbelievable mess (almost equivalent to our own and in much the same style) until one day Mummy Pig decides it’s time for a massive clean-up. Everyone pitches in until the place is spick and span.

“Isn’t it wonderful?” said Mum.
“It feels cold,” said Gran.

“It’s a bit empty,” said Posy.
“Yes,” said Pip glumly.

The upshot is {spoiler alert!} that one way or another the house ends up in chaos once again, and they all decide that being higgledy piggledy pigs is actually rather nice after all.

This is all very fabulous if you are teaching your child to embrace life’s mess and chaos and to appreciate that tidiness isn’t everything. Unfortunately, it also made her very wary of any and all of my multiple schemes to get and keep our house tidy.

When I started talking about FlyLady, she was worried that we would lose the coziness and homeliness that a little bit of higgledy piggledy can bring, and that we would have a bare, cold, empty home instead. And that I would make her tidy up loads and do hard chores, of course.

Yesterday she added a new sticky note to my bathroom collection: “Fly ladey rocks!!!”
(An aside: I think her spelling is excellent for her age, which is seven.)

What has wrought this remarkable transformation? Simple, really.

1. I pointed out that when our house is tidy she will be able to invite a friend to play sometimes. She is very excited about this prospect as I’ve always refused to have any of her school friends over before.

2. She has seen me Flying, and seen how easy, fun and effective it can be to do quick jobs that make a big difference, a little at a time. Today, for example, I did about three 2-minute hotspot tidy-ups (I guess technically they might count as room rescues, but I think I’m allowed to fudge the terminology a bit while I’m still in BabySteps!) in her room over the course of the day and she can hardly believe how much difference it’s made.

We also started using the timer on my phone today and it plays a “Mission Accomplished” tone at the end which is gratifying for both of us. At bedtime she begged me to let her help when I do a hotspot tomorrow.

3. I have introduced her to FlyKids.

We have been negotiating for some while over what would be a reasonable pocket money job for her to have – she wants pocket money and I’m happy to give her some, but I want her to appreciate its value and to have a good feeling about earning it for herself. We’ve tried “helping with the laundry”, we’ve tried “feeding the cat”, we’ve tried all sorts of things but nothing has ever really quite hit the spot… until now. FlyKids has provided the perfect solution.

Each day FlyLady sends out a kids challenge (which, not being set by me, cannot be blamed on me if it’s too hard). If S does two of these during a week, she will get 50p pocket money; if she does four then she will get £1 and if she does all seven then she will get £1.50. Both of us are happy with this plan and so far she has not missed a mission!

Thursday was “Find 10 things around the house that belong in your room and put them there.”
Friday was “Empty the rubbish bin from your room.”

Both of those were easily accomplished in less than two minutes but still made a noticeable difference – and left her feeling that chores were manageable and productive.

The FlyKids page on the website hasn’t updated for a day or two, so this morning I invented a double-action counts-as-two weekend-long mission to put away a big hamper of clean, folded clothes that I have been working on for her over the course of the week. I was impressed that she didn’t decide to leave it until tomorrow, and also that she managed to do it in one go.

She wanted to time how long it took her and it was about six minutes – for a job that in another life would have taken her practically days, accompanied by endless amounts of nagging from me.

So, yes – FlyLadey ROCKS!

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