I knew there'd be mess, but I wasn't prepared for this.
Last night, as I made my way across my bathroom in the dark, I felt something on the floor. I stopped and put my bare toes on its cold shape.
Is that... a potato?
I stretched to switch on the light above the bathroom mirror and discovered that yes, there was a medium sized Maris Piper on my bathroom floor.
How did this vegetable make its way from my kitchen press to the toilet? My one-year-old Ziggy, of course. When and how did it get upstairs without me noticing? Your guess is as good as mine.
Another recent mystery is where he hid the digital thermometer I've since had to replace. I honestly think he must have eaten it, because it simply no longer exists.
It's a question I'll most likely never have an answer to. That and, what exactly is his fascination with throwing potted plants into the toilet?
A certain amount of clutter and mess is unavoidable when you have kids — it didn't come as any great surprise to me that my house occasionally looks freshly-burgled. However, they don't warn you that at a certain stage, every single item that's not nailed down is likely to be on the floor, in the wrong room, smashed, upside down, covered in mystery liquid or all of the above.
The other aspect you can't prepare for, even if you are warned, is the relentlessness of it all. Keeping a tidy house is like constantly refilling the sand in a bucket with a hole in it. No amount of cleaning and tidying could keep up with the destruction my son rages. I'd need to walk around behind him every second of every day, undoing whatever he's just done. Come to think of it, that's exactly what he does to me when I'm tidying. SO WHAT IS THE POINT?!
Everything's a phase. Breathe.
I recently sent a long rambling voice note to a Whatsapp group full of 'mam friends'. I asked when this madness ends, if you can train them to not do this stuff and if not, what do you do with all your stuff in the meantime? Plants, candles, lamps, books... nothing is safe. Must I now rid myself of all my worldly possessions? I can handle clearing up toys and picking up the soft furnishings he's flung everywhere, every day, but the 'stuff'... What do you do with the 'stuff'?
Their answers were all the same; it's not forever, but until this phase is over — everything must go.
What I want to know is, am I the only one who doesn't have loads of high-up shelving? Where is all the magical storage you people seem to have for putting away every item you posses? Short of boxing it all up and putting it out in the shed, I'm not sure where I'm meant to hide my entire life until Ziggy's Tasmanian Devil phase cools off.
I've slowly stripped my house of the things I spent years adding to it. It's hardly world-ending, but again, undoing my decorating isn't something I read about in the baby books. Removing delicate vases is one thing, but it's the expulsion of every bit of personality in favour of bare surfaces I'm struggling with. It seems the options are, messy or empty.
I've come to the conclusion that a Christmas tree is an absolute no-no this year, which makes me sad. I know Ziggy would love to see the house decked out in lots of sparkly Christmas tat. But it honestly wouldn't be worth the hassle of constantly asking him not to destroy it. A tree full of ornaments would be the stuff of dreams for him; the ultimate toy of destruction. In some ways it would feel cruel to tease him with something he's not allowed scale/pull down/deconstruct.
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— Janine Kennedy (@siucrashack) November 8, 202
There is no great moral to this story other than to say if you're also feeling like a hamster on this particular wheel, you're not alone. Some day soon it gets better, I'm told. When that day comes our houses will be tidy, even for small pockets of time, every once in a while.
Some day soon, I'll feel less like I'm walking up a down escalator. Until then, please give me three to four working days notice before calling to my house for a visit. Many thanks.