It seems odd taking parenting advice from the guy whose best-loved characters were orphans, but a new biography on Charles Dickens is apparently shedding light on the OCD way to get your kids to clean up their rooms.
The Oliver Twist and Great Expectations‘ author had a penchant for making inspections of his kids’ bedrooms and leaving them detailed notes when he decided they weren’t up to snuff. Perhaps his desire for having everything ship-shape and bristol fashion came from a childhood spent sharing an attic bedroom with four other Dickenses?
Or perhaps it’s of having ten (count em) children? That sort of household (sans a mother – he banished his wife after twenty-two years of marriage and said ten children) would certainly have us asking “where they Dickens did I put X?” and a need for order (sorry, I’ve been waiting to say that).
Tim Dowling of the Guardian’s riff on Dickens’ dedication to neatness included a letter to his own kids on his discoveries, which inspired my own musings on my daughter’s hovel, er, bedroom:
1. There are blankets and then there are rugs. As pleasant as fleece feels beneath your tootsies, please do not confuse the two.
2. Crayons, when left in front of an open window, tend to melt. Your teddy bear does not require a waxy blue tattoo.
3. I decided to investigate the keening from inside the depths of your room only to discover it was the dresser protesting the weight of Fat Cat, who thought the undies drawer was left open for a cat nap. I relieved the furniture of its pain, please, can’t you do the same?
4. There’s little dignity in having the gawkishness of an ultra long neck and little pom-poms atop one’s head. Do you have to add insult to Giraffe’s injury by leaving him face first in the hamper with a pile of undershirts hanging from his legs?
What comments does a tour around your child’s bedroom elicit?
Image: The Guardian