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Katy England Katy England
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Cleaning crew

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We pick up a lot. It's a never-ending cycle of picking up. Pick up babies, pick up toys, pick up dishes, pick up more toys.

I have a former roommate from college who will confirm that I was never a neat freak (you can stop laughing, Angie, seriously). But I won't bore you with how reformed I am, though I do pick up quite often now. No, I've come to realize that I'm kind of weird when I'm picking up the kids toys. I can't just put them all in a box. Well, I can, eventually. But I have a tendency to want to solve all of the puzzles, put all the colorful cups in descending order and stack the rings properly.

I get perversely disappointed if I can't find a puzzle piece. We're not talking about complicated puzzles, either. We're looking at the kind of puzzle that includes a picture of the missing animal underneath the puzzle piece itself. There isn't a lot of mystery there. But it bugs me if it's missing. It also bugs me if I step on it in the middle of the night, though that might not be the appropriate word.

This hang-up doesn't seem to affect my husband, who can pile all the toys into their wagon with impunity. I will spend five to 10 minutes searching for one of the missing dinosaur puzzle pieces, only to find that they have stashed in between the wall and their crib, wedged so tightly that it's bruised the drywall. Awesome.

And you'd be surprised where items end up. Dust bunnies grow to epic proportions when fed a diet of Cheerios, Goldfish and toast crumbs. They in turn attempt to engulf and devour plastic rings, blocks and any other toy that is smaller than a breadbox and left within inches of the lip of the couch or refrigerator. They suck them in. They have their own gravitational force. Yes, I need to vacuum more.

But my obsession in attempting to keep the toys in some semblance of order does help keep the dust-bunny infestation under the level of a Tribble invasion, but only just. And cleaning off a toy especially anything plush can give you the absolute skeeving-willies if you let the dust bunnies chew on them. You have to remember, most of these toys have gone under the couch covered in drool, which is an invincible adhesive when it comes to gross. They are ick magnets.

I've found blocks in my winter boots, puzzle pieces in my purse. And sometimes I am my own worst enemy: I will plop something in my pocket to put away later, only to pick it out of the bottom of the washing machine, a bit fatter than it was when it went in. At least I found it.

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