Better than the Presidency

Like any mom, I'm proud of everything my kids do. Except for when they, like, mistake someone's gender or pee on my pillow (okay, I never actually proved that one of my kids was the guilty party, but the indicators are pretty good).

But I'm downright ecstatic right now. Because I've just noticed that my one-year-old, Coby, is showing signs of something amazing. Something rare. Something that most moms I know - me included - dream of.

I think I have ... a neat freak.

It started the other day, when I was sitting in the toy-strewn living room, thinking, "Ugh. I hate it when the house looks like such crap." I turned my eyes to Coby, who had been playing amidst the chaotic jumble of unnecessary junk toys. When to my surprise and delight, he started picking them up and putting them away.

Now don't get too excited, I said to myself. This could be a fluke. I've pretty much come to accept the fact that, having three boys, my next eighteen years or so are going to be filled with dirt and clutter and disgusting odors and petrified and/or moldy food in strange places. Dare I imagine the fanciful, wonderful possibility that one of my boys will actually help keep things clean? I didn't want to get my hopes up. But he put more things in the toybox ... and then more. He was doing the very same activity that, with my older two, I have to beg, plead, and threaten to get them to do (reluctantly and whining the whole time). VOLUNTARILY.

When it happened again the next day, I allowed myself to rejoice a little bit. And the more I thought about it, the more pieces began to fall into place. He's always liked to throw things away - picking up every little scrap off the floor and making a beeline to the garbage - although I've always thought it was because he just wanted to play in the trash can.

I was still guarded in my assessment of my budding neat freak, though, until this morning when I was folding laundry. Coby reached a tiny hand into the basket, pulled one of his t-shirts out, and laid it onto the freshly folded stack. Obviously he didn't fold it (I would have keeled over with sheer joy then, y'all) but I'm sure he would have, if he didn't lack the fine motor skills. And then he pulled out a sock ... took it over to the bookcase ... and dusted. I kid you not. He wiped the sock deliberately back and forth over several of the shelves and as much of the top as he could reach.

Maybe he's thinking of what to clean next ...

Is it because he's like me, and I very much prefer things clean? Is it because he's a Virgo? I don't know. But whatever the reason, I can't help but imagine the awesomeness of a kid who keeps his room clean, his desk at school organized, his clothes neat - and then grows up to be a man who likes to keep an orderly environment and actually helps his mate rather than adding to the mess?*

*This is a thinly veiled reference to my husband. Curtis, I'm looking at you.  

If my sons turn out to be rocket scientists or ivy-league professors or computer geniuses or philanthropic gazillionaires or the President, I'll certainly be pleased. But oh ... to raise a neat and tidy boy who becomes a neat and tidy man ... I'd really be able to die happy.


  1. I couldn't agree with you more. Here's to hoping Coby really does come thru for you. Thus far, my Max has shown that clean is NOT an interest of his. However, Maggie does enjoy to scrub down and dust and pick up. Phew!

  2. I have a virgo, well, two. So far, the first isn't showing the "clean" factor. When she gets home she explodes! Jacket one way, shoes shoot two different directions...
    I just hope that neither of them inherit the hoarder jean that runs in my family!

  3. If you can raise a neat and tidy boy then you totally must share your secrets.

    Maybe a book?

  4. You must have done something!! Please.. I NEED the secret. Yea for you!!

  5. I am certainly keeping my fingers crossed for you. I do have to say my husband the Big Tuna is a Virgo and cleaning up is not in his DNA so good luck.

  6. How exciting! Let's hope he doesn't grow out of it, or that the other two don't re-train him! I really do think some people feel like their life is more orderly in every area when their surroundings are tidy. Several people in our family - including you and me - seem to be that way!

  7. Lol at your endnote to the husband. I wonder if he "got it."

    How exciting! Can you send him over my way? The house is a little messy. ;)

  8. Lucky you! You must have passed on some good genes. lol

  9. Congrats, hope it happens and he truly becomes a neat freak --- is rare among (us) guys!

  10. No worries of any of that over here. I don't have any neat freaks and I doubt I have the makings of a rocket scientist, a president, or professors. At present, I'm pretty sure I'm looking at a professional gamer, a pimp, and a rock star. Sad state of affairs. Particularly because at any moment the "rock star" could shift gears and just decide instead to be Russell Brand when he grows up.

  11. Wouldn't that be something if he continued to have those neat-freak tendencies? I'm truly crossing my fingers for you!

    When my son was a baby he was a super neat eater. He didn't like food on his face when I fed him and when he started feeding himself he never threw anything on the floor or get anything on his clothes. Now that he's seven he's not a slob or anything, but he's definitely not that neat little baby. He makes a bigger mess eating now than he did at 18 months old! It's so hard to win at this parenting thing. :-\


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