Every parent knows the woe of kids leaving their dirty clothes lying around. When I was a kid, my dad would see my pile of clothes on the bathroom after I took a shower and cry, “Oh no! Annie melted!” I thought that was a clever alternative to yelling at me to pick up my stuff, but it doesn’t hold a candle to the way a Washington state mom handled a dirty sock left behind by her daughter.
Xep Campbell shared how her and her 10-year-old daughter Kestral’s creative one-upsmanship escalated on Facebook, and people are loving it.
“On the evening of Thanksgiving when I went to bed I noticed one of Kestrel’s socks on the bathroom floor,” Campbell wrote. “I decided not to toss it in the hamper but instead see how long it would stay there, sort of a sociological experiment. Today, a week later, it remained, so I decided it must be intentional and deserved recognition as such. I made this little label hoping it would motivate her to pick it up. Oh no.”
The label reads like a sign at an art installation—”The Forgotten Sock, Mixed Media, Nov 25, 2020. On loan from the collection of the artist.”
“She sent me a text message asking if I had done it.,” Campbell wrote.
“When I got home she said ‘I made a pedestal for it!’ She gamed my shame.”
“I figured as long as it was on display, it deserved an audience so the barnyard animals arrived,” wrote Campbell. “They find it very fascinating.”
That alone would have been enough to draw a chuckle from anyone. But it didn’t end there.
You know those “mysterious” metal monoliths that have been making the news?
Oh yes, she did.
And it just kept going. “I came back from walking the dog and this had appeared,” Campbell wrote. More art for the animals to enjoy.
And then? This happened. “It’s a miracle!!!” Likely the only nativity scene of its kind, ever.
And it kept growing. “They heard about the party.” Oh. My. Goodness.
“I should point out this is a *very small* bathroom,” Campbell added. “I asked when the sock might go away. She said ‘how long do art exhibits usually last?’
The creative escalation of the abandoned sock story has delighted tens of thousands as the post has gone viral.
Campbell tells Upworthy that she tries to live live in a way that results in a net positive gain for herself and anyone she comes in contact with—a philosophy that clearly extends to her relationship with her daughter.
“I always try to take the creative route whenever possible,” she says. “There is a lot of beige in the world that needs to be countered. There are also endless possibilities to be creative with even the most mundane aspects of life. I tend to go for the weird option when it’s there.”
As one example, when Campbell had to have brain surgery, she invited her friends to a zombie-themed roller skating party where they ate giant, brain-shaped jello. She says that Kestral isn’t phased by any of her mother’s antics because she’s grown up with it. “She definitely appreciates the absurd, though.” Campbell adds.
Not only is this story wildly entertaining, but seeing a unique approach to an extremely common parenting situation can help all parents expand their toolbox. Not only is this sock-turned-art-turned-manger-scene a fun way to make a memory with a child, it’s also likely to be far more effective at helping her remember to pick up her clothes off the floor than simply reminding her for the dozenth (or hundredth) time to use the hamper. Normally a kid might overlook something they left behind, now any time her eyes hit a piece of clothing on the floor, her brain will remember this goofy scene and at least notice that it’s there.
Well done, mama. Thanks for the entertainment and the positive parenting example.