In the kitchen this morning while making breakfast, I stopped my work to prise a pair of green plastic glasses from off my houseslippers. Sorry, Mr. Potato Head.
Our house used to be such an idyllic little setting to raise a baby. Each room had a blanket or a Moses basket where Joaquin would play, sedentary, and toys were pretty limited to those cozy parcels of kid space. But now we have a ten-month old, and with the onset of all this new mobility--crawling!! standing!!--those days of tidy and order are over.
Or at least they feel that way. Never in my life have I felt so pulled to keep things picked up. Just the sheer amount of space the toys take up in one's scope of vision is nearly alarming. "Try not to trip on the toys" is right. Everywhere I go in this house, it seems something is underfoot: a whisk, a maracca, magnetic blocks, a kazoo. (Yes, my baby can play the kazoo.) It's like the toybox had a war in our house.
I know this is a dilemma a lot of mothers must contend with: We see the mess instead of the life. Life is messy. We all know that, to a certain degree, and most of us have some inner gauge of sorts that allows messiness up to a certain point. We each have a different limit of how much messy we can sanely tolerate, too-- I know that my gauge is far more generous than that of a, say, self-proclaimed "neat freak". But we all have a certain point at which our surroundings, and even independent of that, our personal lives, reach a criticl mass of mess.
Truth be told, sometimes it's easier to dump a bad boyfriend than it is to to keep a house free of the cat-hair tumbleweeds that drift over the floor and hold conventions behind the rocking chair. I'd much rather go through some rather unpleasant moments in my personal life than have to sort through years of paperwork that I never seem to get filed. And the scrawled notes, bits of writing and poetry and unfulfilled to-do lists lying about-- we are talking volumes here-- just the thought of it makes me want to pack Baby J up in the stroller and flee the house. "Hey, it's a sunny day, perfect time for a walk!"
I suppose it might help if I tried to think of our house as user-friendly. All the functionality, right where you can see it. Crock-Pot? Right over there. Cuisinart? Check. Which leads to a question: all of my toys are in view, so why not his?
I have no answers, other than this one thought: I'm simply going to try and let us live in our house. I'm going to try and participate in the life and the mess and not be so concerned about trying to have a house that looks like no one lives there. And if I step on Mr.Potato Head's glasses, well, I guess I'll just have to get him a new pair. Or better, some lasik surgery. That will be performed with a penlight and a sense of humor. Or just let him go blind, and then at least he won't see the mess.
Once again, sorry Mr. Potato Head.