Wanna know how to make a day incredibly special? Clean.
I knew preparing for our dinner party tonight would involve some cleaning. Then....my husband woke up yesterday with ENORMOUS welts. In a panic about what creature was living in our room and feasting on Nate, we launched into a cleaning spree, washing, spraying, vacuuming, wiping everything around. Still on a roll from the spider (?) bite scare, we turned to the kitchen that was also overdue for some thorough cleaning. After two solid days of cleaning, I hope there will be no more bites, and that we're finally all ready to have people over tonight.
The flurry of cleaning in anticipation of an event definitely heightens the seeming importance of that event. I woke up this morning, ready to start cleaning, and thought of Jasmine's exclamation as we prepared one year for a publishing party in our classroom. Parents were invited and we were working extra hard to get the room ready for the special event. Cleaning mode is like no other time in the classroom--I don't really pay attention to kids' behavior, but just trust that the excitement of moving tables and chairs and sweeping will get everyone hyped enough that they won't have time to poke or tease anyone. It takes all hands on deck to get the furniture where it needs to go--but if all hands are on deck, there aren't any hands free for mischief. That's the hope.....
We were cleaning, lifting tables, arranging chairs, sweeping the floor, and straightening the marker boxes to get ready for the publishing party when Jasmine exclaimed, "I can't believe today's finally the day we've been waiting for!" Tyler, too, was caught up in the moment. "This is a really big deal!"
Now, not that our publishing party wasn't a big deal, but you would have thought they were talking about something truly incredible. In third grade it doesn't really take much to count as a "day we've been waiting for," but I think it's the cleaning that really seals the deal. "If Ms. Sarah cares more about how the room looks than about if Emmanuel is flicking pencils in the library--this must be a special day!"
Other kids can be rather harsh critics, however. On our daily schedule one day, I put in the "Special Event" card for a guest speaker we were having come in to talk about government. After the talk, I saw Matthew look at the schedule and realize that the PowerPoint presentation we had just watched happened at half past ten. Hmmm. "But 10:30 was supposed to be...." I could see him thinking. "That wasn't a special event" he said, fortunately out of earshot of the guest speaker.
After all that scrubbing (not to mention cooking), I'm definitely ready for tonight's special event! They had BETTER comment on how clean our baseboards are.
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