One Thing

I feel that if my mom were dead right now, her ghost would be cackling at me as I type this. She’s alive so she’ll have to wait until I hit “publish” to laugh at me from her computer room in Montana.

A note to my darling pork-loin-loving children,

I love you dearly but do not share that same level of affection with your personal effects, many of which are doomed to meet an untimely end very shortly.

What do you think happens to a piece of trash if you throw it on the floor instead of in the trash can? Do you think your coat will magically hang itself because that would be wicked cool but I have yet to find a brand of coat that will do that? You seem surprised and annoyed when I pull you away from your latest playtime activity to come downstairs and pick up your ever-loving blessed markers off the floor when I’ve told you ten times not to leave them there. Are you surprised that I noticed they were there, annoyed that I expect you to clean them or are you just surprised to find out that you still have markers when I most likely should have just tossed them after reminder number 6 and annoyed that you’re not tall enough to ride all the cool rides at Disneyland?

In conclusion and to sum up, there’s a place for pretty much everything. Wouldn’t it feel good to put everything in its place?

Love always,
Your Daring Growing-Older-With-Every-Plastic-Knight-She-Picks-Up Mom

I used to wonder what my mom’s problem was that she cared so much about me leaving ONE THING ON THE GROUND. I now know what her problem was. I know it intimately. It’s not the ONE THING. It’s the one thing FOUR MILLION TIMES each day. It’s the one thing IN THE ROOM I’VE JUST FINISHED CLEANING. It’s the one thing and ALL ITS FRIENDS AND OFFSPRING.

There may be a lot of one things ending up in a Puget Sound area landfill this week.

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18 Responses to One Thing

  1. Linds says:

    You know, my one shining moment as a parent came when I discovered the power of the garbage bag. I used to ask my children a zillion times to pack away their toys, and amazingly, they seemed to have lost the power to process words. So I gave them a warning one afternoon – you have 10 mins to pack away or it all gets thrown out. And I hung a garbage bag on the door. 10 mins later I simply walked in and piled every single thing into the bag and removed it. Many screeches and wails later, they realised I was serious. (I put it in the attic) The next day I issued the same warning, and you would not believe the speed they suddenly cleared everything! Hah! Strike one for the Mum!

  2. Stine says:

    Oh man do I feel your pain. I was just telling my boys last night about the pattern of our lives… I clean, someone destroys, I clean, someone destroys, I clean… you get the picture. You live the picture.

  3. Annette says:

    Bad news: They never learn. I’ve been at the battle long enough to have a teenager now. Still battling. Grrrr.

  4. There are times when I want to pick up all the stuff and put it into a box. Every time I pick it up, it goes into the box…and they have to pay me to get it back.

    I dream that I will accept payment in chocolate and coffee.

  5. Carrie says:

    I’m pretty sure my mom has a good chuckle at 99% of my blog posts.

    Payback is a you-know-what!

  6. Mandi says:

    Amen, sista!

  7. My brothers and sisters have always laughed at my mom because she used to have this beans system where she would pick up all of our stuff and put it in some box and we had to pay her beans from an allotment she had given us in a dixie cup to get any of it back. She would always cry out “BEANS TO YOU!!!” which we still tease her about to this day. I can’t even remember what the reward was we were supposed to trade in our beans for. My dad started gathering up our stuff (when we were teens) and throwing it in the bathtub. I don’t think I learned how to pick up well until I got married. But NOW, my kids are in payback mode. I have to side with Linds and say that my greatest solution is when I just throw stuff away. They also believe that when I get out the vacuum that it will suck up ANYthing that’s on the floor, so that makes them scramble. Good luck, DYM, and if you find the secret, let us know.

  8. FarmWife says:

    Mirror, Mirror on the wall, I am my mother after all. That’s my motto.

    I use the trash bag & vacuum trick at my house too. The older ones have discovered most big things will not go into the vacuum, but will fit in the trash bag. And then there are the days when I send them outside to play so I can clean out their toy box. Just last week a sack of happy meal toys went to the school to be added to the first grade teacher’s treasure chest. Another sack went on permanent vacation in the trash can. It was so liberating!

  9. All Adither says:

    Your life is sounding a lot like mine: pick up and laundry. pick up and laundry.

  10. Carrie says:

    Oh, this is so funny. My little one is 10 months old, and he’s in this stage where he throws EVERYTHING on the floor, and just now I was feeling overwhelmed by it, and when he went down for his nap, I cleaned it ALL up. Dumb, because I know I’ll have to do it again in a couple of hours, but oh, what a funny letter. We’ve all been there- or we’re heading that way. 🙂

    • Aubrey says:

      Ha ha ha ha! 1 10 month old… ugh! I used to think that it was tricky when I had one little week lovey now I have three and we homeschool them…. the mess, well it is unthinkable compared to my sweet first child at that age! Have fun and merry future kids!

  11. RasJane says:

    Oh, I’m so glad to read that. I know other moms have the same struggle. But I was just about to banish every toy we own from the house. If it’s not left on the floor, it’s being fought over. Or worse, the “I’m bored” refrain when they have enough toys to entertain a stadium of children!
    I have told myself I will rotate toys. I will throw more away. I will ______. But honestly, I’m just too tired by the time they are all in bed that the toy situation hasn’t changed much.
    I did package some up and set them in the garage. After 3 months when no one had said anything about them, I had dh drop off the 3 garbage bags FULL at the local thrift store. As far as I know, in the last 2 years, none of them have been missed.

  12. Rebecca says:

    I immediately CHUCK any and all toys that come with little pieces. (If and when I have girls, all Barbie products will fall under a blanket ban.) But I’m with Thea – my kids “buy back” anything left out of place at bedtime. Payment is usually chores – vaccuum couch, clean out car, wash windows, etc. And, ummmm … my oldest is four. *blush*

    I used the trick at Girls Camp, too – payment was five pieces of litter. You’ve never seen a cleaner campground!

  13. michal says:

    i keep telling my two oldest boys (8 and 6) that if they can’t manage to keep their room picked up, i’ll be forced to remove everything from it except for four outfits, their pillows, and one blanket. they are horrified–no books? no construction paper/scissors/pencils/markers that their baby sister loves to get into? no action figures and pieces from construction sets that will never be put together again? i am so ready for the landfill. if i put it on freecylce, will someone come get it right off their bedroom floor?:)

  14. cheetah says:


  15. little mama says:

    My friend just introduced me to the wonders of the Gobble Box. It’s a magical (decorated shoe) box that comes out at specific times. In her house, the Gobble Box comes before bedtime, but I think my Gobble Box would come before lunch and before dinner. The Gobble Box gives a little warning, by way of whispering in Mom or Dad’s ear that it’s very hungry and will gobble any- and everthing left on the floor in however many minutes. It’s genius. So genius that her kids have yet to have ANYTHINg gobbled, and run around in a delighted panic cleaning up every little thing. But if tsomething were gobbled, there it would sit in the Gobble Box’s tummy until either the owner earned it back by an extra job, or, well, forgot about it. (and, hey, I think one fewer toy is a great thing!)

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