Kick out the junk, motherfunker

In another age, when people had blogs and other people read them (or so we liked to tell ourselves), Zygote Daddy tagged me with a meme (google it for yourselves, whippersnappers), from which I discovered that I’m not the only one who’s a bit OCD about his sheets and blankets.

Now, it turns out, I’m not the only one in Casa Bradstein who’s so fastidious. In fact, I’m not the most fastidious at all.
Mama always accuses me of being neat and tidy, which she can only do because she didn’t know me when I was a boy. As a boy, I was more tornado than tidy, but at some point I got sick of wasting time looking for things like keys, my wallet, books (this was before iDevices, kids), so I came up with a system to keep track of them: always put them away.
Not revolutionary…unless you knew me as a boy.
OK, OK, OK, I might also have strong opinions about how other things should be put away or organized or how tasks should be performed–this much you’ll know if you know me now. This combination is what leads Mama to refer to me as neat and tidy.
When 3B came along, he clearly demonstrated from an early age that he was more tornado than tidy. We figured this just came with the dinner–he’s a kid, clutter doesn’t bother him, he need to be taught to put things away, etc.
But then we had Jewel.
As soon as she could play with toys, she would put them away when she was done with them–even if they had been out when she started playing with them, she knew to put them away and where they went. Mama and I literally stopped in our tracks and did a speechless double-take when we saw this. Had she been switched in the nursery? Was she secretly 37 years old? What was her deal?
Then Mama looked at me and said, “That’s clearly your side of the family.”
I suppose if I’m going to give Mama’s DNA credit for 3B’s need to be surrounded by clutter–OK, OK, OK, multiple items of high value to him, and dubious value to others, piled high on and around him…the Bradstein euphemism for this is “nesting”–I’m willing to take credit for Jewel’s fastidiousness.
But it is a bit spooky when, before she lies down on our bed for one of us to read her stories, she insists on having “her” pillow behind her; having it arranged properly, which she often must do herself; and having the sheets and blankets aligned just so. Of course, when she gets into her crib, this entire process repeats itself. During stories, she also must have her toothbrush aligned on the bedside table just so and her bottle placed properly on a coaster there as well.
Last night was the capper, however, when she first aligned the square coaster with the corner edges of the bedside table, leaving a perfect one centimeter margin between the edges of the coaster and the bedside table.
We were again dumbfounded.
All my life, I’ve been wondering if anyone could ever get my affairs in order, clean house, kick the junk out of my trunk. Turns out that someone can. She’s two and she’s the Jewel of my heart.


Papa Bradstein will ride 200 miles across Massachusetts in two days to help fight cancer. Please support his ride.

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