No sooner had we walked in the door yesterday from picking L. up from school, than he and his sister disappeared into the downstairs bathroom. I didn't notice at first. I was tired and hungry, and I came home to find that the plumber, who had arrived in the morning while Scott was home with T., had left dirty boot prints all over the kitchen floor, the entryway, and the upstairs bathroom. I am so grateful that there are people like plumbers, really, who can come out and fix leaking pipes, but I've never understood why every single repair person we've ever had come into our house must tromp about and leave footprints all over the floors and carpets. If I had to do it all over again ,I think I would start my own repair business, and be known far and wide for not only fixing household disasters, but also cleaning up after myself.
I clean my house when I'm stressed out. It's therapeutic for me on some deeper level, I think. If my outer world is chaotic and stressful--if it's spinning out of control--then, by god, my floors will at least be clean, and my sinks smell like Clorox. I was scrubbing the mud off the floor when I realized that my kids were up to something. All parents learn, early on, that when your kids are being very, very quiet, they are no doubt doing something they shouldn't be doing. Worse yet, when your kids are being very, very quiet behind closed doors, and you hear faint splashing sounds and low murmured voices coming from behind the door, you can be certain they are definitely up to something. I put down my mop and knocked on the bathroom door. When T. opened it (she's still too young to realize that you clean up what you're not supposed to be doing first and THEN open the door to your parent), I found the sink a mess of frothy bubbles, and the floor covered in wet, slimy soap suds. The kids had stepped all over the water and suds, and there were, of course, small muddy sneaker prints everywhere.
"We made slime!" T. said gleefully. "We made slime!"
Sometimes during moments like yesterday's, I have an out-of-body experience. I see myself from above, fussing and scolding and blowing my top at my own two kids, who were only creatively exploring what they could do with the intriguing combination of soap and water, and all the while I'm up there feeling badly about fussing and scolding and blowing my top. The uber-parent we all wish we were shakes a finger at me, and tells me to simply kneel down (in the soapy water) and gently explain to my kids why Mommy is so upset about the slime, and the muddy footprints, and the plumber's mess, and the one long bad day this whole week has been.
But we're human, all of us--moms and dads alike. On a better day I might have laughed at the soapy mess. After I ranted and raved, all the while swabbing down the floors with old towels, L. stood in the hallway, hands on his hips.
"Mama, you're just no fun!" he declared, and he stomped off down the hall. T. hesitated, wrestling with some mixed feelings of her own. But in the end she balled up her little fists and placed them on her own hips.
"You're no fun!" she echoed and, turning on her heel, she followed her brother up the stairs, in search perhaps of that uber-mom--she would be tons more fun.