At the risk of sounding like a broken record ... the house is a disaster.
I swear, it doesn't matter what I do - I cannot stay on top of it. There is no question that it was easier when the children were infants and not in to everything, because then - when I would clean the house, it would stay clean.
The problem now is that they ransack the place and anything that we had out on the counters - must be moved in to higher piles on the counters - in order to keep the kids from getting in to it. As a result, there are these disorganized piles all around our house that consist of anything from a tape measure, to a sharpie, to knitting needles, to chapstick, to sunscreen, to our gas and electric bill.
It takes every ounce of restraint to not pick up all this junk and throw it in the trash can, which I must then lock down so the children can't pull it back OUT of the trashcan and strew it about the house.
Even with our piles that are perched high on the shelves ... these kids are starting to use tools. They will flip over their little toy baskets and use the additional 6-inches to climb up and grab a say ... steak knife. Or tape measure. Or knitting needle. Or ... gas and electric bill that they will then partially consume. Thank goodness we receive our bills electronically too - or I would be forced to sift through tomorrow's diaper looking for the balance owed to SDG&E.
The clutter is driving me nuts. I am an anti-clutter freak, so this is literally killing me. Yes. I know that the children are only small once, forget about the house and enjoy this time. Blah, blah, blah. All I want is a floor that I can walk across without sticking to, for 24 hours. I want to fold a basket of laundry and not have it be unfolded and thrown all over the house - to the point that I can't distinguish between clean clothes and dirty clothes, so everything either gets washed again ... or stuck in drawers out of desperation.
Is that really too much to ask? A floor that I don't stick to and a blouse that is washed only once or that I think is clean but is really drizzled with
A couple weeks ago, I opted to save the $140.00 a month we were paying for someone to come clean the house every other Friday, because within moments of her leaving - the house looked like it had been hit by a train. Besides, after a few months of having someone else clean our bathrooms ... I actually missed it. Yes, I missed scrubbing the toilet and knowing that the bowl was clean enough to eat from. Because - around here, you never know...
The children are napping right now. I suppose I could use this opportunity to go de-clutter and sanitize the house, but ... I don't want to make too much noise because if they woke up prematurely, the rest of my day would be shot. So instead, I blog.
And I wonder ... what could I, should I, ought I be doing differently??
Here's the thing: The outside world when it's just me plus the three of them, is a scary, scary place. I only venture to the outside world when I absolutely must. As an example - we are having tacos for dinner and we have no shells. Or hamburger. Or lettuce, tomato or salsa. Infact, we don't even have cheese or the little flavoring pack. All we have is the notion that tacos for dinner sounds good. That kind of dilemma would constitute a trip to the outside world. Although, on more than one occasion when faced with a similar situation, I will find myself saying "Tacos would be good. But the effort of getting the stuff to make tacos is far outweighed by the hassle of going to the store. We'll do tacos next week. Tonight for dinner, we'll have ... scrambled eggs."
I want to stay home with our kids. I want to be a constant in their lives during these critical formative years. But, I also wonder if I am robbing them of interaction with the outside world? If I enrolled them in a Mother's Day Out a couple mornings a week, would that expose them to positive educational things ... or ... would that expose them to hand & mouth disease?
What to do. What to do??
I think that it would be great to enroll them in some kind of class. I love the idea of getting them OUT of the house first thing in the morning - but I am usually hard pressed debating where I can take all three of them, by myself. I'm also very apprehensive to leave them somewhere until they are old enough to communicate with me, if there were something wrong. The few times I've left them - it's been a colossal disaster.
Mom recommended taking the kids to the library for story time, but I cannot rid myself of the image of three toddlers running around, climbing on top of tables, ripping books off the shelves and emitting their ear piercing shrieks. All the while, I'd be standing there like a deer frozen in the headlights, clutching my diaper bag and wondering how to exit as expeditiously and yet, gracefully as possible. I'm sure I'd be nervously laughing "Oh ... ha, ha ... we're not ready for this yet. Ha. Ha."
It's not to say that I lack courage and don't expose our children to positive educational activities. For example, this morning, I fed all three of them cereal in a bowl with milk and spoons. Three children that aren't yet two, perched at the table, over a recently mopped floor with cereal in a bowl with milk and spoons.
A short while later, I let all three of them stand on kitchen chairs while I made a batch of my mother's famous banana nut muffins. Because our kids have recently started to rebel against eating bananas, and I did not effectively communicate this to Charlie, for several weeks in a row - he continued to buy bananas, even though they were not being consumed. As a result, we had 20 over-ripe bananas in our freezer. Today, I made 10 dozen banana nut muffins and 3 banana nut bread loaves which I had intended to distribute to our neighbors, this afternoon.
Once I finished chopping the walnuts, I let the children help me add the walnuts in to the batter. I noticed that for every handful they would put in the bowl, a handful would go in their mouths. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw William put a handful of walnuts in his mouth ... chew ... take them out - and before I could stop him, throw them in the bowl. If I wasn't using our Kitchen Aid mixer, which was automatically stirring all the ingredients together, rest assure I would have scooped out the partially consumed walnuts. But darn if those nuts weren't mixed up before I could even absorb what had happened. And less than three seconds after that - Elizabeth decided Bunny needed to take a spin in the mixer, too.
Honestly. I don't know what to do with these children during the day so that they are positively stimulated. And I sure as heck don't know what I'm going to do with 120 muffins and 3 loaves of banana nut bread. Tell me about it William ... tell me about it.
Here's my mother's famous banana nut bread recipe, in case you are one of my neighbors who are now not going to receive a batch of bread, but want to make your own:
1/2 c. oil
1 c. sugar
3 ripe bananas
2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped (preferably not chewed) walnuts
Blend all of the above ingredients together and mix until smooth. Pour in to a greased bread pan (or muffin pan with liners). Place in a 350 degree (F) preheated oven. Cook for loaves for ~60 minutes, muffins for ~25-30 minutes. Serve warm with cream cheese.