Saturday, February 28, 2009

Consequences of clutter

My house is not perfect. I have some clutter. Mostly my clutter consists of books and Master J's school work but there are a few other things (such as toys) laying around. I really try to keep certain rooms clutter free. My guest room is clutter free. My bedroom is usually clutter free. My dining room and living room look pretty good as well. My kitchen however, is another story. My counters seem to collect growing piles of books and stray paper. I do go through Master J's school papers weekly and recycle about 95% of them but there's still a lot left. I think the schools could save millions of dollars just on paper if they quit sending every notice five times over. But that's a different story. The story today is about my kitchen clutter. The past two days at school, Master J has had an exceedingly difficult time being respectful. Yesterday he got to see the principal, which is never a good thing. Mister C decided that an appropriate course of action would entail Master J writing a sentence about being respectful multiple times. We had a bunch of running around to do yesterday and didn't get back until after 5:30 so Master J didn't get started on writing his sentences until almost 6:00. At first he did pretty well. He needed to do three pages (about 24 lines each) of writing and he got the first page done in about 15 minutes. He started the second page and got about 5 lines in when Mister C came home after getting new tires put on his truck. Of course Master J wanted to see those new tires and I made the mistake of letting him. He never got back on track. So by 7:30 when it was time for him to go to bed, he was exactly no further along in his task. So he had to start over this morning. And here's where it gets interesting. When he started working on it, he was very fidgety. He was talking, making noises, swinging his feet, etc. Since there's no point in leaving the room when he has a task if I want it to get done, I decided to start doing some cleaning. I put away the clean dishes, emptied the sink of the dirty ones, put some lotions back in my bathroom and recycled a bunch of papers. I noticed at this point that he was working diligently and better yet, quietly. I kept clearing and cleaning. I collected up his library books that were going back today and neatly stacked the remainder. I put away all of his toys that had been sitting around. It was when I was wiping down the counters that I realized he had been sitting quietly working for 45 minutes. He got done with his writing and calmly went to read a book. So I asked him about it. Did it help him to focus when there wasn't a bunch of stuff laying around. And he said he thought so. I think what's going on is that for him, every little thing in his line of sight is distracting. This is where I believe his ADHD kicks in. He hyper focuses on all the clutter that's around. It's kind of like if I were trying to concentrate on reading a book that I wasn't really interested in anyway and all around me people were talking loudly, with a lot of body animation. Only for him, the way his mind is wired is what makes those inanimate objects seem so distracting. So I guess the main point here is that I'm thinking that if I have less clutter around, I should have fewer problems with distraction. Which kind of sucks because I've spent a lot of years just to get my clutter down to the point it's at today.