I had the dubious pleasure of teaching my daughter how to clean the bathroom today. A necessary evil, I guess, but in this case the old saw may be right: ignorance is bliss. She was surprisingly docile about the whole thing. Not exactly happy, as when she learned to do laundry, but willing. I can’t remember when the dreariest of household tasks was exciting to learn because it was “grown-up.”

We need help in the cleaning department. When my third child was born I knew that my personal tipping point had been reached, and I would have to let something go. Cleaning was the most expendable. Also the task I least enjoy. So I made a decision to stop worrying about the state of the floors or the windows. I made a vow, and I am nothing if not true to my word. Loyal to the end.

I have a few infection control issues that I take care of, like sanitizing the kitchen sink and the bathroom faucets. But if my kids want to live in a pigsty of a bedroom, I let them. Today, however, my son’s room reached a crisis point, with twelve empty plastic bins and approximately 3 million small toys on the floor. Also on the floor: a paper R2D2, multiple Spanish word puzzles (hey, I was going to do those!) at least two weeks worth of Sunday advertisements all cut up into tiny pieces. Fourteen paper airplanes, all of which must be saved, a few empty shoeboxes (future robots) and a giant spilled container of beads rounded out the ugly scene. There was much crying as negotiations ensued. In the end, I ended up taking my son out to the craft store to buy a container for the beads, and another for the loose papers, while my husband did the real dirty work: separating the trash from the treasure.

To wrap up, a few of the collections my kids have had over the years:

  • caterpillars
  • pencil leads
  • origami creatures (this is ongoing)
  • rocks
  • more rocks
  • sawdust
  • frogs
  • snakes (they slithered away tout de suite, thankfully)
  • dirty ice scraped off the driveway in flat chunks (still stacked on the porch as I write)
  • Scooby Doo anything
  • rocks, rocks, rocks
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