Friday, November 11, 2011


Everyday I put the same things away at least ten times.
Chap stick. (The two year old at my house is relentless in her daily search for hidden tubes of chap stick).

I have to stop this list right now now, lest I bore you and become discouraged by reading about the many ways my life repeats itself.

I'm frustrated today because I can't seem to get everything to the place it needs to be. Both material things like shoes and chap stick, and the more abstract things, like peace of mind. There is always a cupboard coming open, tumbling its contents onto the freshly vacuumed carpet that now has bits of play dough sprinkled over it like confetti. A repairman came to fix my dishwasher today. It was expensively broken. Then he took a look at the weird ticking noise my washing machine has been making. Start saving for a new washing machine, he told me. There is no escaping the wear and tear of life, the constant disarray.

My older sister is a single, working mom and she told me that every day, seven days a week her life is filled to the brim with responsibilities that need her attention. There is no break, she told me. Except for the ten minutes between 9:50pm and 10pm when I read my book before I fall asleep. I was full of sage advice. You need to find a dependable babysitter, I lamely informed her. As if this wasn't already on her "987 things to do this week" list.

My two year old just interrupted my typing to announce, Mom, I can see my bum. She is craning to look over her own shoulder and peering into the back of her underpants. A good life lesson: there are a few things that will always be exactly where you left them. A bum happens to be one of those lucky things. I couldn't resist the photograph below since it speaks eloquently of what my life looks like right now!

Stock Photography: Mother holding nude toddler
photo credit
There is a school of thought that you ought to leave things where they fall and pick them up later, maybe once at the very end of your day. As frustrating as it is to do ten laps through my house each day returning shoes to closets and toys to the toy box, I'm not the type to live peacefully amid clutter. And so I walk through my house, arms full of little girl stuff. This is my life, I remind myself. There's no sense in living like something unjust happened to you. I chose this.

Sometimes I don't even mind the daily laps since it gives me the opportunity to look around and notice what is different. Elisabeth has been wearing princess nightgowns twenty-four hours a day for about seventeen days now. Today she got dressed and her beloved nightgowns are strewn around her bedroom floor, waiting for her to put them on again. Katherine is recovering from a tonsillectomy. She vomited so frequently the first couple of days that we ended up back in the hospital. Now her "puke bowl" has been abandoned to an end table. I see progress.

For the past couple of weeks we've been painting the interior of our house and it's not a small undertaking. And frankly I would rather eat deep fried maggots in chocolate sauce then paint. But the kitchen, family room and office are done and they look terrific. So, this morning I started rolling the hallway in hopes of extending that sparkling, newly painted wall sort of optimism. After twenty minutes I set my roller down. I can't do this today, I said and kindly gave myself a pass. Katherine cried and cried through the night, her little throat aching where her tonsils used to be. I haven't left my house in five days. The dishwasher guy didn't have the expensive part in his truck and will have to come back. The sink and counter tops are cluttered with dishes. Why in the world did I think a painted hallway would help the situation?

I rinsed the roller and put away the paint. It's impossible to fit every good intention into one measly little Friday morning.

Elisabeth is trying to potty train herself right now. I think we should wait until after Thanksgiving, but she doesn't care what I think. Evidently she sneaked into her sisters' drawer and helped herself to some panties because I just noticed a nice puddle of urine on the floor. I wish I'd noticed she was wearing panties. It somehow helps me to deal with the disarray in my life to expect it. To anticipate it. To accept ten laps a day through my house as part of a beloved and necessary routine.

I need to hunt down my now bare naked daughter and strap a diaper on her, or at least insist she rinse off and put on another pair of clean underwear and possibly one of the nightgowns decorating her bedroom floor. It's not going to solve the problem, but it will give me a brief rest until the next time she pees on the floor. And I'm confident she will.


  1. I'm laughing sympathetically. I know just how you feel. I probably would have painted the hallway, just in case. Wise of you to stop.

  2. I loved this post - and i love reading all your posts! You are awesome - have a great 2 weeks in chicago~! erin


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