Donno (Wally Ben’s Great Grandma) tells a story that her sister Junie’s daughter’s first words were “What a mess!” because Junie would march from room to room saying that phrase over and over. As a mom of an 18 month old, I believe it. I vacuumed yesterday and somehow the room was destroyed with toys by this morning. I live for those 2-3 minutes post-vacuum, when the floor is spotless—free of dog hair and crumbs and cars and balls and various pieces of kitchen tupperware and lightbulbs (how’d that get there?). Because I am a neat person. I truly am. Some would say bordering on anal retentive (ehem—Wally IV).

But it is impossible to be neat with an 18 month old, especially a destructive, tear it down, rip it apart, chew it to pieces, knock it down boy like mine. Unless I want to clean nonstop, I just have to learn to live in the mess most of the time. (Although I secretly love the end of play time when I get to re-organize the toddler kitchen and I take a certain overjoyed satisfaction as each pan is hung in the appropriate spot, shuffling Wally away, looking back to admire my tidy work with a sigh of relief. Everything is in its place.)

I decided, enough of that. It’s time this kid pull his weight around here. Here you have it:

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