A few years ago my neighbor came home from her baby shower bragging about how light she got off: A self-proclaimed clutter phobe, her registry contained about ten items, most of them furniture. At the time I was in the waning days of my “children are disgusting germ factories and I want no part of them, thank you very much” phase, but even I knew that kids mean stuff, and lots of it.
Which is why I’m not quite sure how I am constantly surprised by the trail of clothes, mismatched shoes, Cheerios, stuffed animals, blocks, more clothes, books, and other items that snake through my house on a daily basis. No amount of cleaning has been successful in ridding the chaos on a permanent basis. I’d like to say I will conquer to mess, or at least make some headway, but I’ve spent enough time at the poker table (in a former, child-free life, of course) to know when to cut my losses.
The toys are the worst. I don’t have any hard evidence, but I’m pretty sure that the second my back is turned T’s toys come to life and throw keggers and toga parties rivaled only by the Delta Tau Chis’ from Animal House. I spent several blissful months in which his only fascination was with a stuffed giraffe that plays music when he goes to bed. I even managed to come through Christmas fairly unscathed, having warned everyone from two sets of grandparents to the mailman not to go overboard on the First Christmas. Some time after that it started to fall apart. I’d go to Target for toothpaste and when I got home there were bathtub squirties in the bag. A trip to the thrift store and a set of giant blocks found their way home. Community yard sale and the next morning we were tripping over large, noisy toy trucks. Okay, so maybe there is a common theme here that doesn’t involve sheets and food fights, but I think it’s inevitable, especially when your toy chest starts from nothing (not even the chest).
My neighbor moved a few months later, but I hope she’s not still fighting the good fight against clutter – I wouldn’t want her to miss the pure joy on her son’s face when he tears through every toy in the box until he finds exactly the right one.