Crossing the Young One’s room lately has been like walking through a mine field of dirty socks, crumpled t-shirts and discarded yoga pants. Her soccer jersey is in a pile by the closet door, and a towel hangs from the edge of a mirror.
The socks freak me out. I find them everywhere…on a dresser, under blankets, on a lamp shade, in toy boxes, tumbling off bookshelves, hanging from a towel hook in the bathroom.
I need to understand why this is happening and how to make it stop.
“What is going on with your socks…with all your clothes for that matter?” I asked, scooping up a stray fuzzy slipper sock from the corner of her nightstand. “Why are you not putting your dirty clothes in your hamper?”
“Well,” she said with all innocence and big eyes. “That’s what he said to do. It’s fun. Watch.”
She bent down, pulled a sock to the tip of her toe and gave a kick. I watched it arch across the room and land with a soft plop on the head of an American Girl doll.
“Who…is…he,” I said calmly, even though I was furiously thinking, “Once I find this kid, I’m going to beat him with a dirty soccer sock.”
“My brother,” she smiled.
“Your…who?” I stammered in my shock at her revelation.
“Myyyy…brrrooootherrrr,” she enunciated slowly, clearly thinking my hearing was fading.
“He did what!”
“Momma! Pay attention!” she snapped and then flung another sock through the air. This one landed on her pillow.
At that moment, that oldest child of mine was pretty lucky to be safely residing in Germany.
However, now that I think about it, his part in the state of total disarray in his sister’s bedroom makes perfect sense. His was never a particularly tidy room when he was growing up. I remember laundry days where his contribution to the dirty clothes was conspicuously slim.
Add to that a recent trip home, the loud thumps and laughter echoing from the second floor and a serious case of hero worship, and I have a true kid conspiracy on my hands.
Now that she was busted, I was able to adequately carry out a
threat punishment that fit her crime. For every night, I find dirty clothes in random locations no where near her hamper, she will be fined one dollar. She may not get an allowance, but she does get birthday/Christmas/Tooth Fairy money. She saves it like a miser, so the thought of losing it just to watch footwear fly is daunting.
Now, how to deal with the Older One? He’s thousands of miles away bravely serving his country, so the punishment for this betrayal of household cleanliness can’t be too harsh.
I could call his commanding officer and explain the situation. No, that’s probably crossing a line.
I could call his girlfriend! No, she was probably in on the conspiracy too.
I know! I have recently become aware of an opportunity to procure several boxes of Girl Scout cookies that went unsold during his sister’s Brownie troop cookie booth sale last month. I’m going to hold the Thin Mints and Samoas hostage!
I’ll have an apology in no time.