I am not one of them.
Apparently, what I am really good at, is laundry.
“Wow, Mom, these clothes smell so fresh and clean,” my daughter exclaimed as she inhaled the pile of folded clothes I handed to her. “You do great laundry!”
I was so proud. Four years of college, ten years in the workforce, ten years writing a column, and here was my claim to fame: I could get my family’s clothes really clean.
Of course it’s nice to be appreciated for something. I just never thought it would be my ability to get spaghetti stains out of stretch pants.
Since I have no formal training in the art of clothes cleaning, I have to assume that I became a renowned laundry expert as a result of on-the-job training. Lots of it. However, once we got past the messy toddler and early childhood years, I thought my trips to the laundry room would taper off a bit. But this was not the case. My kids somehow managed to wear enough clothing that I found myself doing a formidable load of laundry almost every day. I couldn’t figure out how this was happening until one morning when I walked past my daughter’s room and peeked in. As I watched in disbelief, I saw her try on an outfit, take it off, and then stuff it into her hamper before selecting another one to wear. She did this twice more before settling on an outfit for the day. It occurred to me that this was her solution to actually refolding the clothes and putting them back on her shelf.
I was aghast.
“Excuse me,” I said, barging into her room and turning the hamper upside down onto the floor. “Which of these clothes are dirty?”
“They all are now that you dumped them on the floor,” she said matter-of-factly.
She had me there.
“I mean which of these clothes did you wear?”
“All of them,” she replied.
“Which of these clothes did you wear for more than 30 seconds?”
“Trying on clothes doesn’t qualify them for laundry,” I told her. “Please don’t put them in the hamper, OK?”
The next morning I saw her parade another selection of outfits past my door. After she went downstairs I went into her room. This time the rejected clothes were not in the hamper. This time they were in a heap on the floor.
I sighed. Gathering up the heap o’clothes, I called my daughter upstairs.
“Let’s try this again,” I began. “When you try on clothes, they do not go in the hamper and they do not go on the floor. If you decide not to wear them, put them back in the closet, OK?”
Day three. Another morning: another parade of outfits. I snuck into her room and looked around. There were no clothes in the hamper. There were no clothes on the floor. I felt like I had finally won the laundry lottery. Triumphant, I went into the kids’ bathroom to collect the towels, but stopped short at the door. There, on the floor, was a huge heap of crumpled clothes. I groaned.
“HEY!” I yelled to my daughter as she passed by. “Did you leave all your clothes on the bathroom floor?”
“No,” she said, peering at the clothes. “Those are dad’s.”
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