Whoever Thinks Boys Are Slobs Has Not Met My Nine-Year-Old Neatnik

Socks will never be white enough for my youngest, but how would we get by without him?

Between folding his undershirts, sorting his socks, and lining up his chapstick in order of favorites, he is the most orderly person in our house.

Nobody knows where he gets it from, since my husband and I, and his two brothers, are all challenged when it comes to being, um, neat.

But this particular third grader lines up his shoes each night, hangs up jackets without being reminded and was once caught clipping his soccer shorts onto pants hangers. 

So what’s the problem, you might ask? Isn’t it great having a kid who would be perfect as a professional organizer one day?

Well, there’s nothing that undermines your confidence as a parent more than a kid who constantly asks if you’ve finished the laundry, if you’ve signed his school take-home papers, and if you’ve remembered to feed the guinea pigs on schedule.

After several exasperating months of arguing over whether sports socks needed to be bleached every week and being criticized when the books in the bookshelf didn’t line up in size order – I decided to give in.

I figured – if he’s the neatest person in the house – then let him do his thing. I stopped resisting being cleaner and more organized and instead, harnessed his energy to benefit our entire family.

My youngest son is now in charge of folding the bathroom towels, stacking the morning cereal bowls in the cupboard and monitors the clock to make sure everyone is out of the door in time for school.

He reminds his father when it’s trash day, promptly delivers his church pants for ironing, and keeps track of his own cub scout badges.

I figure if I play my cards right, I’m hoping he’ll soon be willing to teach me how to balance my checkbook and how to get a better crease in my work slacks.


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