Tuesday, September 22, 2009
So I have this problem. Well ... not so much a problem as a habit. OK, not so much a habit as a compulsive need...a need for things to be orderly and in their place. Everything in my house has it's place. I don't care if they leave their place at some point in the day, but they must always...ALWAYS find their way back to their place. The milk goes in the shelf in the refrigerator door...no not on the top shelf, even though it fits there just as well. Yes...always. If it doesn't...well, then the next time I find it out of place...I'll put it back where it belongs. Right about now I'm sure at least half of you ...OK, most of you, are rolling your eyes back in your head and thinking I'm a complete lunatic...and maybe, just maybe I am...but it is what it is! But here's the thing...at any given time...provided things are in their cherished place in my universe, I can pretty much tell you where everything is. Where are the beach towels? Linen closet, bottom shelf, one towel pile to the left of the "dog towels". Hand soap refill, under the kitchen sink, all the way to the back and on the left right next to the steam cleaner solution. Yep...I'm a freak.
You might think that having kids would completely upset my universe of order. Oh contraire mon ami! Like I said, I have no problem with things leaving their designated place. I don't even mind when the playroom ends up looking like the aftermath of a nuclear blast....because, at the end of each day...everything goes back...say it with me...in...it's...place. Now I KNOW you're all thinking I'm completely nuts...but here's the thing...think about how many times in a day your kid asks "Mommy, where's my _____". How often do you find yourself turning your house upside down to find whatever "_____" is? Not a problem in my house. "Mommy, where's my yellow bouncy ball?" It's in the toy shelf...red bin, second row from the bottom on the right...just underneath the hot pink rubber duck. Not convinced? OK, I have to come clean. With a toddler and a preschooler, I can't say that things don't get moved when I'm not looking.
Case in point...last week Lil Buddy's favorite toy du jour...SweetPea's generally ignored pink Little Tykes cell phone went missing...for four days. You have to understand...he loves the damn thing. As soon as he wakes up each morning, he sprints into the toy room and grabs the cell phone from it's normal resting spot (that would be the dark blue bin with the red circle around it in the picture...second row down and to the right) and runs around the house with it for the rest of the day. That was until last Friday, when he ran to the toy room and came back empty handed. "It's in the toy shelf, Bud"...isn't it? Actually, no, it wasn't. Turns out Pink Phone was MIA. I looked in closets, hampers, under beds, in toy boxes...I even looked in trash cans...and still no phone. I went to bed, defeated, and got to see the disappointed look on Lil Buddy's face for the next three days each time he went to the toy shelf looking for his favorite phone. Then last night, another toy...one that I'd seen not 5 minutes earlier, Handy Manny's plier, Squeeze, was missing too. What the hell...had some rip in the cosmic fabric...a Bermuda Triangle of the playroom opened up and begun sucking up misplaced toys? Again, I find myself running from room to room searching inside, under, on top of and around every place I think Squeeze might be. Out of desperation I even picked up the inflatable Diego mini ball pit in the playroom next to the toy shelf...and, what ho...there, tucked right underneath it is...Pink Phone. The one place I hadn't looked. Oh...and it turns out Lil Buddy had launched Squeeze down the loopy ramp of his Little People garage.
The moral of this story is...if things had been put back where they damn well belong, I wouldn't have have spent four days looking for a stupid plastic pink phone! Alright, alright...yes, I admit, I take a good idea to the point of neurosis...but, if you can teach your kids to leave their favorite things in the same place at the end of each day, it will teach them not only to be tidy, but how to easily find their favorite things... all on their own...and save you from tearing your house to pieces to find them...most of the time, anyway.