Life with kids. Their shit is everywhere. The minute you clean one area, the next is destroyed again. On an average day, it looks like Toys ‘R’ Us exploded in your living room. 

Believe it or not, every item has a home, even if it’ll be cold day in hell when they all end up living there. I give my best attempt at the end of a long day to tidy up (read: push all toys and other junk to the perimeter of each room using my foot).

But no matter how much organizing and cleaning I do, these four things pop up in the most unexpected places. They’re everywhere I look. I think they’re stalking me. 

Stickers

Quite possibly one of the cheapest forms of entertainment for young kids, they’re a favorite among grandparents as inserts in birthday and holiday cards. Happy birthday, princess!  Here’s 12 sheets of the world’s smallest stickers. Love, Nana. 

Stickers could be cute – could be – if only they were placed on paper, as was their intention. But seeing as how it goes against the very nature of rugrats to use something the way it was intended, stickers in our house rarely end up on the stacks of construction paper or piles of coloring books that we own. 

Doors, end tables, countertops – all adorned with stickers. The bottom of each one of our socks – plastered with stickers from walking across the floor. Baby dolls with stickers covering their bodies. Stickers on windows, stickers on mirrors, stickers on pillows. Crumpled, soggy stickers in the bottom of the washing machine. 

What’s worse than the stickers themselves? The leftover borders from where the stickers were removed from the sheet. Garbage, you would say. But to a child, there’s still adhesive on the back, and therefore it’s still a sticker! Tiny scraps of sticker sheet edges (ripped apart, of course).

Little pieces of nothings everywhere you look. 

Socks

They’re bought in pairs, worn in pairs, washed in pairs. So why the HELL do I find single socks in every corner of my house? A sock stuffed in between the couch cushions, another lying on top of the TV stand. One on the stairs, one on the bathroom floor.

At any given time, there are probably eight to ten socks randomly left around my house. I pick up and do laundry on a regular basis. Yet the socks are still coming out of the woodwork. How is this possible?

My husband recently texted me a photo from work of himself pulling a Cinderella sock out of the sleeve of his shirt. I found a sweaty one in the third row of my SUV. A sock that my youngest outgrew months ago lingers at the bottom of my purse (how long has that been in there!?). Take a look under my couch, and I guarantee you’ll find socks there, too. 

Last spring when the snow melted, there was a poor, sad, dirty sock in the middle of our yard.

Shopkins

First off, what the hell are these things? No really, I don’t get it. All I know is that my almost-4-year-old came home from preschool one day raving about Shopkins, and the next thing I knew, she got a shitload of them for her birthday. Excellent. One more thing to keep her little sister from choking on. 

Unlike all the other figurines and random tchotchkes my daughter owns that seem to have a logical purpose, Shopkins are just, well…weird. A yellow softball with a bear’s face on it, a winking harp, an orange square wearing a princess crown whose expression I can’t quite figure out. (Is it despair? Longing?) These are just to name a few. 

What I can tell you is that we started out with 35 of them, nicely arranged in the collector’s case (thanks, Grandma). Today that case holds 14, which means that more than half of those creepy things are floating around my house.

Yesterday, I opened my bathroom medicine cabinet and found a cheerful looking watering can staring back at me. Climbing into bed, I was startled by a small, hard trinket under the covers, only to find that it was a cow shaped like a Crock Pot. Seriously, WTF?

Hair ties

Hair ties for adults: pack of 10 in neutral colors. Hair ties for kids: pack of 200 in obnoxious neons. “This is ridiculous,” I thought when I bought the first pack for my oldest daughter. “Who needs this many miniature rubber bands?” Apparently, the manufacturers are smarter than me, because that pack of 200 is almost empty. 

Don’t worry. I know where to find more if you need one. Just look closely around the baseboards of my house, the floor of my car, or in the kitchen pantry. Bonus points if you find the really tiny ones – the ones meant for super fine baby hair. Those will likely still have wads of hair attached as toddlers aren’t known for their finesse in ripping them out of their heads. They also like to live in the lint trap of the dryer. 

Hair ties make great bracelets for baby dolls. You can also find them converted into door knob decorators. They add a little color to the otherwise gray, dusty contents of your vacuum cleaner. You might even find them in every single pocket of everything you own. 

Like they say, life with kids is never dull. Especially when you go to work with a Finding Dory sticker on your cheek.