"Go upstairs and clean your room." I said to my fifteen year old son, firmly and with great conviction.
"I'm never going to take the time to walk all the way up the stairs to actually see if your room is clean, therefore bring whatever dirty clothes you can find on the floor down to be washed, and throw the covers half hazardly on your bed and call it a day. Go ahead and talk on the phone, play video games, watch a movie, whatever- because I wouldn't want you to strain yourself by actually working hard."
The second statement is what my son heard, and therefore, that is exactly what he did. How can I fault him? He did what he HEARD me say. In a parallel universe, anyway.
That being said, I spent a good portion of my time after work last night helping my oldest figure out what Mom means when she says "Clean your room." Working with him, I helped him discover that there ARE monsters under the bed; at least that's what dirty socks, pop cans, cd cases, empty candy wrappers and dust bunnies will turn in to if they procreate under the bed. I shared with him how he CAN dust his dressers by simply moving the items on top and putting them back when the task is completed... unless the items are stuck to the dressers by some unknown pop-like spill, in which case more effort may be required.
When we were done, the room, while it didn't look like anything on a home makeover show, it looked....normal. The bed was made, spider webs no longer graced all of the corners of the room, clean clothes were no longer piled at the end of the bed...rather they were all hung up or folded in drawers. Shoes were in the closet, I could actually see myself in his mirror, PS2 games were organized, dvds and videos were organized, and the room no longer smelled like...dusty mildew.
We had a moment. We stood, looking around, and my son looked at me with awe.
"Wow, Mom. I didn't realize my room could look like this. You've got my room looking great!"
Look out, world. With this kind of success, I may find a cure for the common cold next. I'm pretty sure that I might be immune to any and all diseases at this point since I tackled that room and lived to tell about it.