Friday, 11 May 2007

"Stay There and Clean My Home!"

Every Wednesday Dorothy, a lovely Polish lady comes to clean our flat. Two and a half hours of work seems to yield only the smallest of differences and by the following day it's as if she never came...but at least the place smells 'lemony-clean' for a few hours and it mentally allows me to believe that our home is not a total tip. I'm one of those people who have a hard time asking for what I want, and so it is that i pussyfoot around the business of asking my cleaning lady to do more than just a cursury clean (a mere dusting off of mirrors and squirting of toilet gel under the seat...a practise she commonly favours).

It doesn't help that she is now five months pregnant and instead of doing pre-natal yoga and indulging in afternoon naps, she finds herself cleaning up after messy clients who for whatever reason are unable to tidy up after themselves. However we have this unspoken arrangement whereby she undercuts me by about 20 minutes each week and I give her loads of recyclable fashion and handbags throughout the year, and in return she doesn't mention the abominable state of Egg's room or the little pellets of mouse poo which are scattered behind the sofa's from time to time.

This morning she texted me shortly after Jay had left for work, saying she'd be here earlier than usual. I panicked. Dumping Noah on the sitting room floor and luring Jake to the kitchen with Play-Doh, I raced upstairs and cleaned like a madwoman for forty minutes, just so Dorothy wouldn't go into premature labour from the shock of the mess. I was just jamming Jay's mismatched socks into his bedside drawer and flying down the stairs like a Tazmanian devil when the doorbell rang. Minutes later as I shuffled us all out the door to leave Dorothy in peace, and as I was clicking Noah securely in his pushchair downstairs, I spotted Egg on the landing, finger pointed sternly at Dorothy as he roared,

"Dorothy, you stay there! You stay there and clean my house!"

I was mortified. He said it as if Dorothy was foolish enough to entertain the thought of accompanying us out into the glorious sunshine. I couldn't help heaving with silent laughter as I buried my red face in the pushchair, and too embarrassed to say anything I just scarpered. In retrospect an apology and harsh reprimand wouldn't have gone amiss, but given that i'm only firing the odd rogue neuron these days that was clearly too much to ask for at the time. I think some major sucking up of Dorothy is going to have to take place next week.

Maybe this sort of behaviour is hereditary? I know that Jay admits to having called a friendly woman 'FAT' on holiday when he was a kid and had played with her on the beach all week. And as for my part, at age five I recall having been caught out with my hand in the cookie jar (literally!), and upon being reprimanded by our then new cleaning lady/nanny I put my little hands on my saucy little hips and told her off, with words that were later reported to my parents as being,

"The other lady didn't last long and neither will you!"

So you see, maybe it's inevitable.

This afternoon at the doctors office when Noah was getting his injections, the kindly older nurse burst out laughing as she kneeled down to comfort him. The look of utter disgust and disdain he shot her was EXACTLY like the one my Dad would throw us when we were growing up and my and sisters and I had done or said something too stupid for words. She said that she'd never seen such a reaction from a young baby before! I've explained to Egg that Noah is feeling rather fragile today from the injections and that he is NOT to touch him, but of course that's been as effective as sending a drunk to a brewery. So far today we've had four head raps, one finger pinch, one foiled suffocation attempt and two leg slaps.

Egg for his part has emptied all Jay's tic tacs into a cigar case, spilled a whole container of Johnsons Baby Powder on the upstairs computer keyboard, and has flung all three remote controls down behind the big tv such that we are not able to currently retrieve them. On top of this he has plugged in every single plugable item in the flat into every available socket, poured apple juice into the fabric softener dispenser in the washing machine, and has 'mopped up' almost the entire upstairs in dirty wet water.

I sit here now at the kitchen table exhausted, having spent the last four hours painstakingly cleaning out cupboards and fridge - not having had the nerve to ask Dorothy if she might take a swipe at them. Oh well, I guess there's always next week. Maybe as I apologise for my rude sons behaviour i can subtley gesture at the cobwebs above the fridge, the dirty fingerprint smudges on the windows and the forlorn looking garbage bin and perhaps she'll take pity on me. Yeah right.

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