spring cleaning

It’s that time of year that the head of any household dreads: the time when winter coats must be packed away, and summer clothes dug out from under the bed. Boots go on the top shelf of the closet, sandals come down. I have been putting off said tasks, not only because they will be enormous, day-usurping undertakings, but also because last week the boys were wearing shorts, and this morning, while waiting for the bus, I was upbraided for not having brought their gloves. April weather is like that.

Still, the time has come for seasonal rotation. Living in an apartment, as I do, makes it mandatory. There is just not enough room for all our shit. Or at least there wasn’t, until now:

Are you jealous? My five year old son is so talented that he spent a rainy Monday afternoon building an additional closet for his room. “Look, Mommy!” he said, once he had hauled the box to an awkward space behind his bed. “It’s a Secret Closet!”

“What’s secret about it?” I asked.

“It’s a secret,” he replied, calmly. I asked for that one.

He asked me to write out “Cooper’s Secret Closet” so he could carefully copy it onto his work. And once we got past our lengthy discussion of what an apostrophe was, he got to work with his markers.

“Look at my Secret Closet!” he called over his shoulder to his brother Fergus, while scribbling diligently. “It’s a Secret Closet, and you can’t look at it, because it’s secret!”

My head was starting to spin from the tautology of his logic. “I want a Secret Closet!” Fergus whined, urgently. Another box was found. Then, each of them put their very favorite toys inside their closets (all the while screeching “Don’t look Mommy!! You don’t see this Transformer helmet!” ) Then, several rolls of tape were used to secure the doors of these Secret Closets. And there they are, still in their room, three days later. Their room has never been so neat. Once in a while I am invited to gaze upon the outside of a Secret Closet, but this is only to reinforce to me that it is completely Secret and forbidden to touch. Apparently, by anyone.

I’m liking this system. The more Secret Closets we have in the house, the fewer Playmobil swords I have to pick up off the floor. Soon, our whole home may be made up of Secret Closets, with just enough floor space to maneuver between them. Bathing suits in one, ski parkas in another. Which is which? Well. That’s a secret.

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Mollie May 1, 2008 at 4:09 pm

I laughed so hard at this. They built little Arks of the Covenant in their bedrooms. Awesome.

At the same time, I am bursting with pride. My nephew’s very first apostrophe! God bless you for teaching him early. Too many parents neglect to have The Talk with their kids. It is our culture’s shame. They’ll figure out how to orient the letter S on their own, but to use apostrophes correctly, you’ve got to be carefully taught!


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