Tuesday, 3 June 2008

It's the Little Things...

I find myself wondering this morning, what the sure signs of childcare neglect might be ....

a) discovering that your toddler is all but covered in nearly congealed 'Shreddies'

b) discovering your toddler is licking the pink candy-looking bit of the dishwasher tablet

c) discovering your toddler pouring the washing liquid and fabric softeners into an empty washing machine...

d) all of the above.


Have decided that hiring an expensive cleaning lady to help out one day a week around here is akin to sitting cross-legged in the garden and systematically burning ten pound notes with a lighter. Nonetheless come she does, and although the most lovely woman you could meet (she's Brazilian, about my age and has the sweetest countenance), I do find myself cleaning for several hours BEFORE she comes, and a few hours after she leaves just to get this place into tip-top shape. And that's only one day a week! (Thursdays if anyone is interested, and fancies a visit where you're likely to be impressed and assume we have everything under control!).

Forget my passion for music and my delight in writing; cleaning is my raison d'etre these days. It is marvelous for making you forget about all your worries, gives immediate satisfaction, and even crinkly, hardened 'dishpan hands' aren't enough to erase the glow one feels when surveying a shining, SHINY toilet bowl. I've missed my calling! I could become cleaner to the stars...I could compete in cleaning olympics (if such a think existed), I could later become a judge on 'How Clean is Your House', and one day I could retire to rapturous applause in a room full cleaning ladies, after being presented with a pair of golden gloves or a cast-iron duster with my name on it.

Forgive my mad musings, but if you, a fairly intelligent and somewhat capable person found yourself spending MOST of your waking hours following two messy, naughty little boys around, scrubbing down toilet seats, wiping up crumbs, trying vainly to get out stains, and going through whole bottles of industrial strength cleaning fluids weekly, you too might find yourself regularly going a bit mad. It just never ends!

At least 5 times a day (three meals plus regular snacks) I find myself surveying a demolished kitchen, each time thinking it couldn't possibly be worse (ha!) and that's only one room! In the lounge more often than not I enter to find that the sofa pillows and blankets have all been supplanted in the middle of the room to provide a makeshift shelter for an ambivalent Bacon (courtesy of Egg), and that the grey sooty coals from the fireplace have been removed, crushed and sprinkled lovingly around all four corners of the lounge (and elsewhere in the house too!) thanks to Dumps. It's enough to make even the strongest cleaning lady cry. I kid you not.

Anyway, speaking of crying, Dumps has gotten wise to the fact that a few manufactured tears go a long way in parental manipulation, and often after a spat between the two boys, I'll hear the 'fake crying' before Dumps finds me wherever I am, dramatically clutching a body part, stretching out his hand, and demanding I come to the scene of the crime. He expects immediate punishment for Egg, and if not doled out gets very irate and refuses to 'kiss and make up' with his brother - and instead stands stubbornly in the corner, arms crossed and shaking his head angrily.

The shaking of the head is a new development and one we all find hilarious. Instead of saying 'No' he vehemently shakes his head to everything these days: bedtime, finish your dinner, get in the bath, you name it.

This behaviour is not to be confused with the sticking out of his tongue - a recent and now frequent display. The other day he fell off his change table and that afternoon we noticed that he had his big fat pink tongue hanging out of his mouth a fair bit. Coincidence?!. Whatever the case, he now knows it makes us laugh, so like the true clown he is, he can often be found grinning, tongue stuck out and making silly noises. (If this continues people are going to think he's not normal.)

Is this a sign of things to come? Probably....Will I ever regain my dignity? Unlikely....Is Dumpie now standing beside me with the smelliest nappy known to mankind? Abso-bloody-lutely.

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