The joy that swept over me when I suddenly came across my lip-gloss told me a lot about just how depressing I have been finding our house lately. I had a WTF conversation with my partner afterwards where we wondered whether we had suddenly become outrageously lazy or something, because why does the house look so messy all the time? It feels like we are always cleaning so why nothing to show for it?
Ya know, I am partial to a bit of minimalism (‘eclectic modernism’ I would call my decorating taste). I find peace in clean lines and spaces. I enjoy the spontaneity that is possible when you have order to fall back on (or rise up from, or whatever). We’re Montessori cult followers after all. And right now? We are living in chaos. Everywhere you turn there is a bunch of random crap on the floor; my toothbrush has gone missing (around the time the lip-gloss went missing) and I have been using my partner’s toothbrush (is that making you feel ick?) until that too went missing, and now I am on to using my children’s toothbrushes (also ick). I could go on – my handbag, work bag, desk, bedroom side table – all in utter disarray. It is awful.
About the time when I started to feel completely overwhelmed I figured it all out – Cormac has become a toddler – we are not pigs, it is he who is responsible for descending us all into this chaos. There is random clutter everywhere because he pulls bits and pieces out from certain places and spreads them around in other places; and those things get put away by us constantly except that, eventually, after the hundredth time sorting them you kind of contribute to the chaos yourself by randomly stuffing them anywhere they will fit that will get them off the goddamn floor for a while. Sometimes in despair I get a broom and sweep everything on the floor into one giant precarious tower of chaos. My partner calls it the Blair Witch pile – when something is so violently haphazard as to appear quite sinister. And then there are the things (usually of the precious variety) that are completely missing and who knows where Cormac has put them.
You might suggest, if you wanted your head bitten off, that it was just a matter of keeping on top of it. But seriously? One day I will take a photograph of what becomes of my bathroom while I am taking a shower and I will call the piece: The Price of a Six Minute Shower. And while you’re cleaning up the toilet paper, spare toilet rolls, toiletries, drain pipe grill, straightening iron, lotions, cotton balls, towels and everything else that is spread across the bathroom floor you will be clocking up a brand new debt. And this one will be called The Price of Ten Minutes Spent Cleaning Up the Bathroom Floor After the Six Minute Shower, and it will involve Cormac moving on to your desk where he is now pulling down disks, ripping up phone bills, turning your computer on and off, licking your (empty) wine glass, chewing on your USB cable, losing your mobile phone, and on it goes. Sometimes you have to take a break from cleaning up the mess to put a wash on or unstack the dishwasher and then you’re really in trouble because now your debt will be the previous mess you didn’t spend time cleaning up plus the brand new mess that was created by Cormac while you were unstacking and stacking the dishwasher.
I figure from our experiences with Lauca when she was a toddler that we have at least another two years of this chaos to deal with from Cormac. But I am trying to be optimistic, too – it will end eventually. And as I see it I have several choices: a) child-proof the house the way we did with Lauca when we were a little bit more helicopter parenting in style, but then that depressed me also because I packed away all our nice adult things, and even our bed was off its base and on the floor (us being co-sleepers and all), and it felt like we were poor university students again without a real possession to our name;
b) relax, drink more wine, embrace chaos, buy new toothbrushes every week, have a nervous break-down; or
c) look upon this problem as a puzzle to solve… like so.
It’s no surprise that our house has undergone some changes since Finn started walking. Given my personal penchant for rearranging furniture and constantly tweaking our home to make it more livable, I really embrace the opportunity to create interesting and safe spaces for Finn to explore and enjoy…
Inspiring, no? I will drink to that mother tonight and start solving this problem tomorrow.