Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Toy soup: How I stopped hating my daughter's messy room


There is soup all over her bedroom carpet, but it’s not made with noodles or vegetables. It’s the very worst kind: Toy soup, hot and fresh.

Baby dolls mixed with Barbie dolls, Polly Pocket dolls, dollhouse dolls and American Girl dolls — jumbled together in a tangle of nylon hair and ill-fitting outfits. A hearty layer of stuffed animals and books hide clothes that should have made their way into the hamper and didn’t.

I scoop up entire handfuls of miscellany: Lego, hair clips, doll shoes, Duplo, coins, Lincoln Logs, Lite Brite pegs and stickers she peeled off her body and dropped onto the floor.

Sometimes I get so fed up that I take all of the toys out of her bedroom. Well, not all of them, because then she might get destructive and start tearing apart her drawers again. So I leave her dollhouse and dolls and think “OK, that’s not too bad. That should stay fairly clean.”

Nope. Little by little, she’d sneak toys back upstairs and start a new batch of soup.

I don’t know how it happened. I used to be that annoying child-free adult who tsk-tsked at the messy bedrooms of my nieces. How were they allowed to have piles of toys on the floor, books yanked off the shelves and piles of random junk here and there? Sometimes I’d even help them clean up, and it felt so satisfying … until my next visit and their rooms were just as chaotic as before ...

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