We had a number of neighbors over this afternoon to celebrate the 80th birthday of the man who lives across the street from us. An occasion of this kind necessitates some preparations, including a thorough cleaning of any part of the house that might be seen by guests.
Since the girls' bedrooms had reached the point that it was dangerous to walk across the floors without paying close attention, I told them we would be doing some cleaning today.
Here's the way The Deal works in Jenworld: If I clean the girls' rooms by myself and with no help from them, then there's a good chance many items will end up in the trash or in a box to be donated. A real good chance. If the girls assist in the cleaning, then they will likely save their possessions.
I told the girls this morning that their rooms needed to be cleaned. Graceful, remembering The Deal, headed upstairs almost immediately and got busy. Not long after, Elegant saw the wisdom in her sister's actions and followed suit. Later still, I went upstairs, with the idea of getting started on Elegant's room first, since it was the worst and I knew she was probably overwhelmed by the mess.
I walked into El's room and it was actually quite clean. Granted, she had piled a lot of stuff on her desk and book shelves, but the floor was nearly spotless.
I complimented the girl and praised her for her hard work. Lots of positive reinforcement. Told her how pleased I was and so forth.
Elegant stood there, looking uncomfortable and not at all pleased with herself.
She finally said, "Well, my room isn't really that clean."
I told her that I thought it looked much better than it had.
She responded, "Yeah, but that's because everything's under my bed."