Earlier this summer, Terry went into Amanda's room and said, "You need to have her do something with her room. It smells."
I went in and agreed that it did indeed smell, in a different way than just the odor that any sloppy's child can take on from dirty socks and smelly sneakers. So, as she normally wants me to do when she faces what she perceives to be an impossible task, I helped her get started. When I came back to check on her at one point, she said pointing to the hallway where she had thrown her backpack, "I think I found the smell."
As I got closer, there was evidence that the smell was coming from the backpack. This was several weeks after school had ended, and what was in her backpack? A banana.
I hauled the whole shebang out to the garbage can quickly.
Since that time, other than making sure that my almost-ten-year-old daughter understands that old fruit should not be stored in a backpack in your room, I've tried to impress upon her the importance of keeping her clothes in the dirty clothes basket in her closet, preferably with the door shut. Occasionally there's a relapse, but in general her room is smelling sweeter.
When we returned from our camping trip over Labor Day weekend, Amanda came to me and asked if I had a candle or something. She said that she thought her socks smelled again. I went into her room and to use a phrase, it smelled like something had died in there, because something had died in there. Burning a candle did help, but it's one of those problems that only time can erase.
One of the issues with living in the wild is that sometimes the wild comes in. Although it makes me feel as if I live in an infested sty, I know that it's a common occurrence in semi-rural settings. We see small (and to be honest, pretty cute) field mice all the time outside, and more frequently than I want to know, despite being having a yearly contract with a pest control service, those mice make their way inside. We hear them scratching in the walls (I know -- ick!), and then the scratching stops and sometimes the smell starts.
To be honest, because of the state of her room, I was slightly concerned that something might actually have taken up residence in the closet. So I did what every good mother would do while her daughter was enjoying her second week of school. Take a nap? No. I carefully and gingerly rid her closet of extra pairs of shoes, clothes -- both clean and dirty -- and the other items covering the floor.
It ended up in win-win situation. I did not discover the remnants of a dead animal in her room, but I did get her closet cleaned out.