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I bought A a new toy today. It was met with the same enthusiasm as if I had handed him an ice cream cone dipped in chocolate and covered with sprinkles. You know what it was? A broom.

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I would personally like to thank the person who first began marketing cleaning supplies as toys. Child labor? Perhaps. Brilliant? Absolutely.

"Look, kids! Cleaning is fun!"

Whoever you are, pure genius.

Vacuum cleaners, kitchens, brooms, dust pans, mops. Every kind of domestic item in pinks and blues, all the perfect size for your toddler. Why does anyone pay for a housekeeper anymore? Put your feet up and let the kids "play." They can even provide us with a half-baked cupcake from the EZ bake oven. Score.

I love when A wants to help, even if it means a bigger disaster than when we started... which it always does. He never lets me vacuum alone. He always wants to sweep. And, if I would let him, he would be covered in suds washing dishes.

But, I wonder, when does it stop? When does "helping" and cleaning become a drudgery on their lives? What changes that makes us realize cleaning is a chore?

Perhaps, it is when we learn to rationalize. And, cleaning just doesn't seem rational.

Who actually wants to sweep up a mess that will only reappear five minutes later? Or, make the bed that we will crawl straight back into? Or, wash the same plate for the millionth time? Yeah... Playing tag or making mud pies sounds a bit better. Our children must think we are nuts for spending so much time keeping things tidy, or at least, semi-sanitary.

This means toddlerhood is a critical point in the cleaning circle of life. Take advantage, moms. Let's load these kids with the best vacuum cleaners, dusters and mops while it's still fun and games. We don't have long until they catch on.

Long live marketing.

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