Certain things in my life are a given. For instance at least twice a day I know Dumpie and I shall pass the slowly decaying piece of dog excrement on the pavement by school and have a brief discussion about it.
"MaaaMaaa Pooo-Poooo!" he'll say excitedly, dropping my hand and bending down to examine it yet again.
"Yes Dumps...it's still there", I agree wearily, wondering idly how many weeks it's going to take to compose. I also know that when we pass the store with the Easter decorations in the window he will yell out, "Quack quack Mama...quack quack!"
Dumpie is also the 'Boo boo Master'. Ever since his wee little motorcycle accident in Goa he's been overly concerned about 'Boo boo's'. He always knows who has got them at any given time, how they were acquired and where they are in the healing process. Jay came off his bike a few weeks ago and subsequently got a 'Boo boo' on his elbow. Dumpie is most concerned about this, and when he is not discussing his favourite subject of 'Nannies' (we've moved on from 'Nay-Nay' now and this is his new term for sweeties) he likes to discuss how Jay got his 'Boo boo' ("Fall bike Dada") and then likes to express his sadness of said event ("Awwww...Dada ouch Boo boo").
Egg I'm afraid has turned into a Nintendo junkie. I feel like he's already a teenager in some respects and yet he's only 4. He wants very little to do with anyone these days unless they can help him get to the next level on his games. He tries to trick and cajole us into helping him by saying things like, "Mama, I bet you'd be good at this game because you are so smart". If you actually try and help him (an impossible feat for someone like me whose gaming abilities don't extend much beyond Pacman or Space Invaders) he stands by your shoulder, breathing heavily and wills you on with, "Good job Mama! I knew you could do it. See, you are doing very well."
"Um thanks Egg" I say, totally confused about the screen in front of me and absolutely sure I'm going to let him down in some manner. Sure enough, moments later we hear the 'dying sound' and whichever unfortunate creature I've been trying to maneover through a forest dies a mean and nasty death. Egg sighs dejectedly and takes the game away from me. "Nevermind Mama you tried your best...(insert dramatic sigh)...but now I have to start at the beginning again." Indeed.
Surveying the state of our home this morning as I did my customary trudge down the stairs, I observed that last weekend's frantic cleaning ministrations appear to have been all in vain. We still haven't found another cleaner so it's yours truly in charge of this three-level catastrophe we call home.
Having absolutely no storage doesn't help, and means that even when every single item of clothing is laundered and folded - it doesn't necessarily get put away. In fact I'd estimate that only about 30% of clothes or toys in this house 'have a home'. The rest are free to deposit themselves in a place of their choosing - the countertops, the bathroom, the stairs, the dining table, the bedside table...anywhere really. We're not fussy.
In foolish days past I used to painstakingly arrange the boys closet and spend about four hours making it look like it belonged in a magazine spread - okay maybe not a posh magazine, but still. Then of course one solitary game of hide and seek in the closet (or Dada 'doing bedtime' - they are equally damaging) would render all my hard work utterly pointless and the next time I popped my head in there I would find bits of abandoned toast, cookie crumbs, orange peels, and dirty clothes mixed in with clean ones, etc. If there is anything more demoralising than having to do ongoing 'sniff' tests on random pairs of pants which belong to the three men in your household - then I have yet to discover it.
This fond reminiscing will have to stop now however, for Egg has just alerted me to the fact that Dumpie has made a Shreddies pond on the bathroom floor, complete with raisin bushes and a spoon bridge. It is something I'm sure I could rather appreciate for its its ingenuity and artistic merit if of course it wasn't my son...and it wasn't my home.
I stand there for about a minute, eyes somewhat glazed, and looking not unlike, I can imagine, a villiage idiot. I am not a morning person at the best of times, let alone when I'm contemplating the impossible task of getting one boy dressed, a huge mess cleaned up and two boys out the door in under the space of six minutes. I eventually come to my senses, shriek as expected, (I think I unnerved Dumps slightly when he gazed up to see me just staring down blankly at his creation) and both boys look relieved that their Mama is behaving 'normally' again, and totally nonplussed, hurry off to their next port of call.
Neither boy acknowledges my plea to get dressed/brush teeth/put on shoes or help clean up the mess. Egg flops down on the front hall landing, rolls over onto his tummy and begins playing yet another video game. Dumpie has trundled off to the front room under the big window where he is once again involved with his enormous pile of coloured blocks and is busy constructing his latest masterpiece. I have to admit his creations are really rather inspired such that I'll often leave them out for Dada to view when he gets home from work. They are like mini installations of modern art in our very own front room.
It's too bad the same could not be said for the now mostly hardened Shreddie Pond on the bathroom floor.