If there was one thing Cocoona didn't like, it was cleaning up.
Her parents were always saying, "You need to pick that up," and, "Why haven't you made your bed?" and "How do you think we feel having to clean up after you?"
But what Cocoona always said was, "I didn't ask you to clean up after me. It's okay with me if my room is messy."
"But what if the whole house is messy?" asked her parents.
"That's okay with me, too," said Cocoona.
And sure enough, when Cocoona left her stuff around the house, her parents always picked it up. Because they didn't like a messy house.
"What about when you can't find your stuff because it isn't where it belongs?" they asked.
"Oh, I always remember where I left it," said Cocoona.
Cocoona just didn't get why grown-ups thought cleaning up was so important. Her teacher at school was always bugging Cocoona to clean up. The teacher said cleaning up could be fun, and she told the kids they could sing while they clean up.
Singing--fun. Cleaning up--not.
One day Cocoona came home and the house seemed a little weird. Her mother hadn't cleaned up after her like she usually did. All the stuff Cocoona left out was still out.
No problem. But then things got weirder. When her dad came home, he just threw his tie on the floor and left his shoes by the door.
"Hello, my daughter," he said, giving Cocoona a kiss. Then he threw his work stuff on Cocoona's bed.
"Wait, wait, wait!" said Cocoona. "Why are you throwing your things on my bed?"
"Your mom and I had a talk," said Cocoona's dad. "We decided you're right."
"You did?" said Cocoona.
"We did. I mean, what's the big deal about cleaning up? From now on, you leave your stuff where you want, we'll leave our stuff where we want. Okay?"
"Okay!" said Cocoona. She could hardly believe her ears. No more stupid cleaning up!
When she finished dinner, Cocoona went to put her dishes in the sink. Her mom stopped her. "You don't have to do that unless you really want to," said her mom.
"Thanks!" said Cocoona, leaving her dishes on the table and rushing off to play.
The next morning, everyone's dishes were still on the table, which was a little disgusting. Cocoona just pushed them aside to eat her cereal. But then, when it was time to catch the schoolbus, Cocoona couldn't find her backpack. She started to panic.
"It has to be somewhere," said Cocoona's mom. "Where did you leave it?"
"On Daddy's chair," said Cocoona.
"Hmm," said Cocoona's mom. "I saw him using that chair. He must have put it somewhere."
"Where?" said Cocoona, really starting to panic now.
"How should I know?" said Cocoona's mom.
So Cocoona had to carry all her stuff to the bus stop, and she saw the bus just about to leave so she shouted and started to run. Luckily, the driver waited, but then Cocoona tripped on a sidewalk crack and everything spilled because it wasn't in her backpack. All the kids shouted and laughed at her while she picked it all up.
When she got home, she marched right up to her dad and demanded to know where her backpack was.
"Hmm," he said. He walked and she followed him. He reached behind the couch. "Here it is."
"How was I supposed to find it there?" Cocoona asked angrily. Her dad just shrugged.
This is the first half of the unillustrated version of the Cleaning Up book.
Give your child the opportunity to improve a problem behavior!
The messy child page.
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