Friday, July 07, 2006
I'll Never Clean Again: A Ma'am Hood Story
It’s 2pm and Mommy is having her first beer. (Baad Mommy.) Our party does not start until 5pm and I’m hoping to survive until then. It is the 4th of July and my children are at war with me I figure the beer may help me regroup so I don’t end up a blubbering ball of stress by the time my guests arrive.
I spent all day July 3rd cleaning my house for our 4th of July party. Grandpa came over and handled the children while I swept, mopped, and scrubbed floors on my hands and knees. The house was spotless, it was beautiful. It had not been this clean since we moved in. But for some reason, maybe willfulness, maybe a sense of feeling the house was not right if it wasn’t destroyed, or maybe by some genetic instinct my children decided a clean house was bad.
Currently, I am staring at a small pile of kitty poop on my bathroom carpet. I’m also sipping my beer and trying valiantly not to scream. Someone closed the bathroom door so kitty could not get to the litter box, so she went to the closest place, the rug and did her business. I’m thinking she’d make a nice pair of mittens. But this was the last straw, the thing that finally did Mommy in. Let me take you back to the beginning of the morning and show you step by step how to drive a mom to drink.
The night before, at dinner, Stephan and Aidan both spilled their dinners, including corn bits onto the newly cleaned kitchen floor. Corn is not an easy thing to clean up. You try to sweep it, it mashes into the tile, mop it and it just slides around on the floor mocking you. So I spent some time on hands and knees with paper towels cleaning up the bits of corn. But hey, it was only a dinner mess, what else could go wrong? I should have known to not say that let alone even think it, because the powers that be always love a challenge. Saying “what else could happen” is the best way to make sure something else will happen. And it did.
When I awoke the morning of the 4th to get Aidan out of his crib, he stood proudly amongst his diaper and clothes butt naked. But he wasn’t just naked; he was also covered in poo. (And we aint talking about the cheerful yellow bear either.) Aidan has recently decided that diapers are uncivilized and must be removed at the first chance he gets. I’d solved the problem by putting on pants over his diaper because the little man had not figured out how to get those off. But now, staring at him and the poop strewn crib, it is obvious he might be ready for MENSA. The pants are crumpled in the corner and Aidan is proudly showing me his poopy hands. So off to the shower we go.
We have a stall shower in our master bedroom which is often used for spraying off the little scat artist. I always put a towel down on the floor of the shower because the sticky fish we put in there have spaces in between where little feet can slip. So with the towel down, Aidan begins his shower.
Mark is awake now and watches Aidan while I strip and clean the crib. After getting the sheets off and taking them down to the laundry I go back into the bedroom where Mark and I simultaneously notice the wet bathroom floor. Evidently Aidan had plunked his butt down right over the drain. Towel and toddler butt on top of drain makes for a great plug. The shower stall has overflowed into the bathroom and over the tile by the sink and on to the bedroom carpet. I rush to get more towels to deal with the mess while Mark removes a now clean Aidan from the shower.
We begin wrangling the kids into clothes because we need to go to Sam’s to get the rest of the party supplies. But dressing is not an easy feat with Aidan who wants to help by waving his legs in the air. I once read that the way to prep for dressing children was to try putting an octopus into a baby outfit. Remember all tentacles must go in the holes.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been kicked in the chin while trying to dress him and often wonder if that twinkle in his eye isn’t a bit of joy at thwacking Mommy. I’ve decided now, as I sip my beer and drag the bathroom rug down to the laundry, that Aidan has one goal in life, terrorize Mommy. And he somehow has recruited our new kitten into helping him.
The store run was not bad. Sam’s has carts where two children can sit side by side, and we had enjoyable moments with Aidan and Abby sitting in the cart. Aidan, probably trying to redeem himself, would bend over and kiss his sisters head while Mark and I both went “awww.” Abby was fascinated with being able to sit up and loved watching everything in the store. I felt relaxed, I could do this. So the bathroom flooded, things would be okay.
When we get home I notice that the downstairs guest bathroom is flooded. I cheerily tell myself I had to re-mop it anyhow but I’m wondering what went wrong. As I towel up the spill, I get water on my head and realize that the overflow from upstairs has slipped through the floor into the ceiling fan and now onto my head. I mutter a few bad words and use more towels to sop up the water. Keep in my mind most of these towels were washed and ready for the party because we have a pool, now most of them are on bathroom floors soaking up water.
After tackling the water spill I make the mistake of yet again saying famous last words. I didn’t relay them out loud but I thought them loud enough to be heard. Dragging wet towels into the laundry room to be washed I think “Now all I need is someone to vomit on something.” Never say things like this aloud and try to not think them. Because they fall into that category of famous last words. And I’m sure that baby radar can pick up these thoughts.
Aidan, now down in the living room which we also call “the baby pit” because it is sunken and filled with the toys, suddenly decides to find a small piece of paper. I’m thinking he must have materialized it from thin air because I cleaned down there yesterday!! While re-scrubbing the kitchen table I hear gagging noises and look down into the pit. Aidan looks at me, gags again and vomits on the floor. I’m astonished. How in the world did that happen? Where did he get the paper? Why did I think only moments before that I needed vomit? So down I go to clean it up. My nerves are beginning to frazzle; I’m feeling as if disaster is going to strike every room in the house before 5pm.
After taking yet another load of clothes, including the vomit towels and Aidan’s outfit, into the laundry, I make my way upstairs to re-vacuum because someone had the bright idea of giving a certain child a cracker in the bedroom. We won’t mention names; we’ll just stare pointedly at my husband.
As I mount the stairs I think “yeah all I need is the cat to crap on something.” My inner voice has gone full red-neck and I’m feeling as if a trailer would be a heck of lot easier to clean. When I get into the bedroom, I turn the corner and see it. The kitty poop right on the rug. I begin to tremble. I pace back and forth a few times and then launch myself onto the bed and scream into the pillows. Then I go looking for one of the beers we have iced for the party. If I don’t kill a beer I’m going to kill someone else.
So here I am, drinking at 2pm with my neck muscles tense and my jaw clenched. “It’s just a party, everyone will love the house. It looks great and so do you. Just relax. They’re coming to see us not the house.” Mark says while he gets ready for a shower. I look over at him, ready to smile because of his calming words and get hit in the face with a dirty sock. They’re all in on it.
I go hunting for the hiding place of a clove cigarette and sit on my front porch. This is how you drive a mother insane. This is how you get her to snap and have a beer before 5pm. My revenge? I now swear to never, ever, clean again.