Saturday, December 6, 2008

My Expectations Are Being Met

That title sounds rather snooty. Sorry. It refers to my earlier post about lowering my expectations so I wouldn't be dismayed at the daily big mess that my toddler (or other children) creates. Ever since I typed that post, I've been watching for a day with no mess. It hasn't happened yet. So I thought it would at least be entertaining to record the daily mess and some day five or six years from now, I can look back and laugh about it all. In case you're wondering, adjusting my expectation has worked. I can pretty consistently just let the mess go without getting angry about it.

I chose to begin this mess diary today both because more than one of my children were involved, and because there is a theme for today.

December 6, 2008: Spaghetti Day
Today I cleaned spaghetti messes indoors and out. Kid #5 did a repeat of his spaghetti-crunching episode of a few weeks ago. I found a trail of dry pasta leading from the kitchen cupboard, through the hall, and ending at a large pile in his room. Today he must have discovered that the crunch quality increases with pasta quantity. I asked him to help me sweep it up and let him operate the dust pan...thrice. I thanked him for his help and sent him on his way after he missed the trash can all three times and re-dumped on the floor the pasta I had just swept.

After finishing with the dry pasta, I peeled wettish, saucy pasta off our sidewalk. I'm guessing a child on our street must have brought lunch with him/her when he/she decided to play with the rock mulch in our yard. Fortunately it must have been a boring endeavor, because I didn't have to replace too many rocks. Unfortunately, he/she must have been carrying the pasta bowl with one hand at a 45-degree angle, because it was strewn across several sidewalk squares. I noticed it earlier in the day and had hoped a dog would enjoy the free meal. Instead, it went in the trash with my $4 worth of dry pasta.

In an attempt to save me the hassle of trimming her hair, Child #3 today decided to do it herself. When she asked me in her sweet voice if I thought her self-inflicted mullet was cute, all I could do was try to stifle my laughs. I think my giggles would have hurt her feelings more if she weren't old enough (seven in two weeks) to know better. So she asked me to fix her cutting job, and all I could offer was a headband.

To top it off--although this one wasn't too messy--tonight Child #5 came running to me hoping to share his excitement at discovering what was beneath the paper of the presents I had wrapped not 4 1/2 hours earlier. I did lose my temper with that one, but then he and I sat and hugged and I explained that we have to wait before opening them again, and then our whole family would open them together.

Spaghetti Day is history--thank goodness!


Sunday: Not too bad! The kids pulled out toys and papers and crayons to cover the floors, and used my pillows to surf the staircase. Happily, all those things are easy to pick up...which the kids had first-hand experience with on Monday. :-)

Monday: #5 (I have a feeling a lot of entries in this "diary" will begin with "#5") thought playing with his food was better than eating it. He repeatedly dipped his hands in butternut-pumpkin soup, which has a consistency between yogurt and applesauce, and then violently shook the soup off. It ended up on his clothes, the floor and chair, and in his hair. I'm hopeful that butternut doesn't stain. When he was bored with the soup, he mashed his palms into his applesauce. It kind of reminded me of making hand prints in plaster of Paris. I don't know how I missed that he was doing this with me sitting at the same table. I guess the other four kids were distracting me!

Tuesday: No major messes except a regression in the potty training. Consequently, my laundry pile was doubled. Why do kids do great for a week, and then forget about it for a day or two?

Wednesday: Powdered Sugar Day. You would think after a decade of being a mom, I would know better than to leave the powdered sugar shaker sitting out past breakfast. #5 decided to drive that lesson home. I found him licking the sugar out of the sprinkle holes. His black pants were covered in white streaks. I don't know if he was drooling or what, but the sugar on his pants was stuck on. And of course there was powdered sugar all over the carpet, because why would he confine his mess to a tiled floor? Fortunately, I do not fear ants during the winter time, so I left his sticky pants on him until he peed in them (I knew it was coming) and left the sugar to be ground into the carpet and (hopefully) vacuumed sometime before the new year. This is the first--and I'm sure it will be the only--time that I have been grateful for off-white carpet to disguise the mess.

Thursday: This is a sad day indeed. The kids didn't do more than their usual piles of toys. (Today the bar stools were thrown in with the toys as #s 4 and 5 used them to build tables and cars.) No, the big mess today...dare I write it?...was made by me! I left a pressure cooker of black beans unattended while it was heating up and came back to find purplish-black spatters all over the stovetop, on the wall, counter, dishes, papers that were on the counter, everywhere. It didn't explode or anything; it just boiled out of the regulator cap. So be warned. While a watched pot never boils, an unwatched pot will make you wish it hadn't.


JAKE and JENNI said...

Sounds like a cordinated chaos! I can't wait to see the famous mullet. Being a mother is the ultimate in extreme sports - no rest for the weary!

mindy said...

I can't believe #3 cut her own hair! I thought kids were past that by 5, at the latest. :o) (At least I hope so!)

Charlotte said...

Your expectations were definitely met. I have had spaghetti day celebrated at my house, too. Always fun. ANd I hate when my kids reach the stage where they want to help sweep. But I guess it is better than the stage where they complain about helping to sweep.

Debra said...

This is so great, Mary. I've thought of you several times over the last couple of weeks and a couple of times have actually been able to laugh instead of cry when faced with these situations. So thank you!