It’s Not All Mary Poppins

It’s all quality time

I am expecting an electrician to pop by later today. When I was a young mother with my own pre-school brood, I found that I generally didn’t take a truly analytical look at them until I was out in public. Faced with the awareness of others’ inspection, I suddenly noticed the smudged faces, the rumpled hair, the mis-matched socks.

Not that I cared. Apart from the normal grubbiness of kid-friendly wear-and-tear, my children were essentially clean and (far more importantly, in my books) they were comfortingly reliably well-behaved. I didn’t care … but I did notice. Ruefully.

I am the same way, I discover, with my home. It’s good enough for me, until I’m expecting an objective set of eyes wandering about. Then I notice stuff. In this case, given that he’ll be in the bathroom, I notice the toothpaste smears in the sink. (Wiping the sink post-spit being beyond the capabilities of… someone, I know not who, in my household. Also just plain aiming for the drain. There is spit on the backsplash, for heaven’s sake. Who spits forward rather than down? Should I have checked the window above the sink, in case, in a fit of energy and enthusiasm, they’d decided to spit UP?)

I notice the watermarks on the faucet, and the dog-hair along the wall. The dog-hair down the hall. The dog-hair on the stairs.

How on earth does one dog produce so much hair? The upper level floors are swept daily, the main level floors more often, and yet always, always, there is more hair. It’s surreal.

Tyler is fascinating by my household efforts. He watches me sweep the stairs. Yes, sweep. I used to have a hand-held vacuum for this task. Then my son borrowed it. That was… eight months ago? Borrowed it for use in his town-house shared with four or five other college boys. I suspect the poor thing blew up from over-exertion.

Nowadays I’m using Flylady‘s ‘rubba scrubba‘. (Yes, I know. I cringe at the cutesy-poo, too, but the thing works. I love it!)

“Is that a grome-up brush?”
“Well, if you mean ‘Can you play with it?’, then yes, it’s a grown-up brush.”
“Oh. It is for grome-up working?”
“Yes. I use it to clean the dog-fur off the stairs.”
“And then you will throw it in the garbage?”
“Then I will throw it in the compost.”
“Can I do that?”
“Sure. I will carry it to the kitchen, and then you can open the compost bin and put the dirt in the bin.”
(Yay! Using the compost bin makes my heart lift with joy, too. Almost as much as sweeping the dog-hair off the stairs…)

That mission accomplished, I now notice the dog-fur edging the hall… and as I sweep that away, edging the dining room, the living room, the kitchen. Eesh.

“You gots a messy house, Mary.”
“Thanks, Tyler. I have a hairy dog, I think. And the rest of this…” I eye the grit in the dustpan. “I think the rest of it, you guys bring that in on your shoes. Yup. Most of this dirt comes down to you and the dog, sweetness.”

“But I am not fluffy.”

“No, lovie, you’re not. The fluff is the dog’s fault.”

“And I am the dirt’s fault.”

“Something like that.”

“Is your house all clean now?”

I gaze around the decently uncluttered, and now (momentarily) dog-hair-free rooms.

“Yes. I think so.”

“We did a good job, Mary!”

“Yes, we did.”

“Because we are a teamwork guys.”

Yes, we are. Teamwork, companionship, moral support and encouragement. Who says two-year-olds are hard to get along with?

September 23, 2010 - Posted by | health and safety, Tyler | , , , ,


  1. Now if we could figure out a way to keep that desire to help going past the age of three we could get rich!

    Comment by jwg | September 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. “And I am the dirt’s fault.” I love that!

    Comment by Jill in Atlanta | September 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. Hey, any small part will help them learn that daily work is just part of life and not something to cry about! Even if it’s just chatter, it pays off eventually…

    Comment by rosie_kate | September 23, 2010 | Reply

  4. That rubba scrubba is the best. I use it on a daily basis to rid the foot of the bed from copious amounts of cat hair.

    Comment by secretlysarah | September 26, 2010 | Reply

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