Every Tuesday in The Kiddy Pool, Erin Newcomb confronts one of many issues that parents must deal with related to popular culture.

My thoughts have recently returned to an article I read a while back, one where Slate’s Dahlia Lithwick expounds on a new strain of philosophy: Muppet Theory. According to Lithwick, “Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.” She describes Chaos Muppets as “out-of-control, emotional, volatile. They tend toward the blue and fuzzy. They make their way through life in a swirling maelstrom of food crumbs, small flaming objects, and the letter C.” Order Muppets, meanwhile, “tend to be neurotic, highly regimented, averse to surprises and may sport monstrously large eyebrows. They sometimes resent the responsibility of the world weighing on their felt shoulders, but they secretly revel in the knowledge that they keep the show running.” I’m contemplating this article again because I’ve realized that my younger daughter is the Chaos Muppet in our midst.

At first, I justified her mess-making by her age (not quite 2 yet), and assured myself that all toddlers color with markers on their faces, wipe peanut butter on the cat, and crack up while distributing feathers and bits of tissue paper all over the kitchen floor. I blamed myself for giving her access to craft materials beyond her age and being more lax with foods with my second child. I considered the possibility that her love of deconstruction stemmed from a greater dexterity (and a particularly facility with keys and cell phones) than her older sister possesses even to this day. But really, I think she just enjoys chaos in a way that my husband, my elder daughter, and I do not.

Take, for instance, the rare morning where my four-year-old woke up first. She rearranged the blanket and pillows on the couch the way she likes them best because 1. She has a strong preference and 2. Her preference conflicts with my equally strong preference. Just this morning, my older girl helped me fold the laundry. I gave her a stack of washcloths and hand towels, which she painstakingly folded and arranged in size-descending order. This was not the kid who tore things apart as a toddler, because her world view is much more bent on ordering than destabilizing. For quite some time, I, in my arrogance, attributed her fastidiousness to my excellent parenting; then the little one came along and smashed a humble pie in my face.

Even watching the two of them play together can feel like sneaking into Bert and Ernie’s world. My Bert methodically sets up her play space and thrives on the system of a hook for each coat and a basket for each family member’s shoes. My Ernie whirls through the house like a hurricane, a squeaky “wow” and a hearty laugh that mimics her Muppet counterpart’s signature chortle every time she notices her achievements. Observing her at mealtime and playtime is like watching a mad scientist at work; most recently, she filled a Tupperware container with hot chocolate and Playdoh, shook it up, and told me it was a gift for her equally chaos-oriented friend. I just let it happen, because I’ve got to do the dishes at some point.

Dishes aside (and they so often are), my Chaos Muppet challenges me in ways that my Order Muppet never did. She can turn my tidy household topsy-turvy and it feels at some moments like she’s trying the same trick on my patience and sanity. Yet she is joyful and vibrant and just plain fun in a way that the rest of us aren’t; where we are stable, she is spontaneous, and where we are reserved, she is exuberant. I like to think that the Kingdom needs its Big Birds as well as its Cookie Monsters—to strike a balance between maintaining tradition and shaking up the staid. And, as an Order Muppet of the highest degree, it’s both a challenge and a pleasure to parent a Chaos Muppet who reminds me that consistency and wildness both reflect God.