M: Camden, you are welcome to come out of your room as soon as it’s clean. You have a couple hours until your friend gets here. If you want to be able to play in your bedroom, then you need to clean it up before he comes.
C: It’s too big of a mess. Can’t Gunny Bag just clean it up for me? (At our house, Gunny Bag eats leftover toys that little children don’t put away.)
M: No, I don’t think so. Please clean up.
30 min. later, Camden comes walking out into the living room.
M: Hi, Camden. Is your room clean?
C: Yep. You don’t need to go look.
M: (after checking the room) I don’t think so. Try again, please.
30 min. later, Camden comes out again, this time wearing a bulging backpack.
M: What’s in your backpack?
C: It’s my rescue pack. It’s full of things I need to rescue animals.
M: Can I see? (Lo and behold, it is stuffed full of toys from his bedroom.) Camden, that is not cleaning up your room. Go put your toys away, please.
After another 30-45 min….
C: Hi, Mom. I made a very special creation on my train table. It looks kind of like a mess, but it’s really not. Really it’s a schoolhouse. I worked very hard on it, and it’s very special to me, so I don’t want to take it apart.
In the end, after about two-and-a-half hours, Camden rolling around on the floor (“I’m too tired to clean up”) and having spurts of tantrums and then sweetness and pleading, the mess was still intact, so Gunny Bag had to come after all. *sigh* Little rascal!