I do a.lot.of.laundry. Not surprising really. There are six people in this house, four of whom are 8 years old and under. Kids are dirty. I get that too. What I have recently noticed, though, is that there are six different attitudes about being dirty, dirty clothes and the laundry hamper. I suppose that's not surprising either, but what does surprise me is how entrenched it all seems to be already. I'm fighting a loosing battle for change here, people.
Adam and I try to be reasonable about dirt. Adam is more particular about being dirty than I am; ie he hates having dirty hands and won't wear clothes with obvious stains. I tend to be very laid back. Dirt happens. My jeans operate as wearable, washable, reuseable hand wipes. I'm always wearing something that isn't clean. Meh. We also try to be reasonable about the level of dirty that our house has. I don't like a dirty kitchen, but I'm not above being completely lazy and leaving the washing up until tomorrow. We vaccuum every couple of weeks and sweep when we are grossed out by the amount of food on the floor. I would LOVE for everyone to put away their things where they belong at the end of the day, but it seems to be a loosing battle. So I'm trying to let that go.
And, as in all things, the children have picked up an amalgam of Adam's and my attitudes, seasoned those with their own personal views and produced courses of action that make the laundry-lady INSANE (for reasons I'm sure you will understand at the end of this post).
Elie doesn't like to be dirty at all. At the end of the day she likes to take off whatever she is wearing and, regardless of how long she's worn the clothes and what activity she's done, she will put it all in the dirty laundry. I am sure that she believes the simple act of putting clothing on her body makes it necessary to wash it before she can wear it again. I often have to go through her clothes with her and make her put away the clothes that do not show signs of filth. It is a painful process, fraught with claims of invisible specks of dropped food.
Isaac is not bothered by dirt, in fact, I think he enjoys being dirty. Every evening, regardless of how long he has worn the clothes and what activity he's done, his clothes will be dirty. He gets food on everything, regularly uses his shirt as a napkin, does power slides in the grass and attempts to wear his socks round the clock for days on end. He is fairly reliable about getting his clothes in the laundry, except for the above mentioned socks, which do end up in the laundry after I explain to him that wearing socks for days on end isn't really that good for ones' feet.
Talia is also not bothered by dirt. She also has a tendency to drop food and manage to get it to land of every piece of clothing she is wearing when she eats. She isn't bothered by getting dirty outside and loves to play in the mud. Fine, it contributes to the dirty laundry overall, but Talia's problem is that she is so un-bothered by dirt, that she takes off her dirty clothes and puts them back into her drawer. I have found food-encrusted shirts, pants with dirty underwear still in them, crunchy socks and jeans that could have walked themselves to the laundry, all stuffed back in to her drawers.
Leila takes after Elie. She has an enormous dislike of dirt and being dirty. Not to be outdone by her older sibling, she takes the whole situation a step further. Any time her clothes become the slightest bit wet or dirty, by any means, it becomes abhorent and must be removed, placed directly in front of the washing machine and a new outfit must be put on. This means if she spills water on herself while drinking, she wants to change. If she trips and the knees of her pants get dirty, she wants to change. If she gets her sleeves wet while washing her hands, she NEEDS to change.
This is all probably why there is a constant basket of clean laundry sitting in our room and a constant pile of dirty laundry waiting to be washed sitting in front of the washing machine. Laundry anyone?