About Having A Backyard, A Daily Shower, and Patience

We moved in February from a 900 sq.ft. apartment into a 1700 sq. ft. condo/townhouse, but the extra 800 indoor square feet are not half as thrilling as the 20 X 27 fenced back "yard." (I put quotes on that because it's not what we'd call a yard in Colorado, but it is one here.) It is practically the Garden of Eden as far as I (and the boys) are concerned, after living in an apartment for so long. The owners have planted some beautiful flowering bushes and great perennials, it is on the north side of the house so it's almost always shady, there are more varieties of birds than I could ever imagine that hop along the fence, and the squirrels provide endless amusement all day long. So far, the boys have: filled their wagon with mud, let it dry, then chipped it out; dug up earthworms and pulled them in half; turned over all the rocks in a great bug search; inspected the undercarriage of every ride-on they own; and dug an impressive hole in one of the unplanted portions. It is a truly beautiful thing to send children outdoors to play and know they are safe and happy, they're not watching Dora all day, and they won't be underfoot again for a while unless I decide to take a shower.

I started taking showers daily again a couple weeks ago. I'm sorry to say that it just hasn't always happened since Calvin's birth, what with the "I-can't-leave-my-first-precious-infant-alone-for-ten-whole-minutes" phase of parenthood, to the "I-can't-leave-my-first-precious-baby-attacker-alone-with-the-napping-infant-for-ten-whole-minutes" phase, to the "I-can't-leave-my preschooler-and-toddler-alone-for-ten-whole-minutes-with-whatever-it-is-that-they-will-definitely-find-un-childproofed" phase, to the "I-don't-plan-on-being-near-anyone-who-cares-if-I-shower-today-until-after-6 p.m.-so-maybe-I'll-clean-up-then" phase. I finally decided that personal hygiene is not selfish or frivolous, and wow! that first shower before 10 a.m. was great, so I decided to make a goal of it. Rather Bridget Jones of me, I think. Especially since I'm blogging about it.

Daily showering has come with a few surprises, like glancing down and seeing Henry standing outside the foggy shower door, being startled by his presence since I thought I had successfully left him occupied with a Tonka dumptruck in the back yard, then he starts giggling and pointing, "Mama!" (giggle, giggle, chortle, chortle) "Mama!" Grrr. And then there was the day I announced I was taking a shower and then we would go for a walk. Dumb, dumb, dumb. When my shower was through (seriously, ten minutes, tops), I came downstairs to find them sitting in the middle of the living room floor, Calvin with a red ink pen in hand (WHERE did he find THAT?) and both of them with a terrific network of handdrawn vericose veins all over their legs, ankles to thighs. We took our walk anyway, and only eight people made some remark about them having fun with "Mommy's pen" today. To one lady I was good-humored enough to quip, "You just never know what you're going to find when you get out of the shower" and she about laughed her head off, and said, "I know, honey, I've been there, done that." So I felt a little better. But the cherry on top of all the things that have happened during my daily shower happened today.

I put Henry down for his nap and snuck upstairs while Calvin was watching WonderPets. Ten minutes later, I come down the stairs to find Cal Swiffer WetJetting the entry-way. "Look, Mom! I did the kitchen floor and ALLLL this," he says with a broad sweeping motion of his little arm, then goes right back to pushing the button to make the mop squirt cleaner everywhere. Sure enough, the unswept kitchen floor was sparkling and puddly. The thing is, I hadn't even thought about doing the floors, let alone mentioned it, and as far as I knew when I went up the stairs to take my shower, he was very involved in Linny, Tuck and Ming Ming. Which means that in less than ten minutes, he can think to WetJet the floors, somehow get the laundry room/cleaning closet open, get the mop untangled from the vacuum, brooms, Carpet Flick and various and sundry other handled items stuffed between the washer and the wall (yes, my cleaning closet is Swiffer product placement at its best), and mop the whole dang place. So not only is my daily shower habit in jeopardy here, my housekeeping habits (and excuses for not having them) are shown to be seriously flawed. Unraveled, exposed...by a three-year-old. And how can I lose my patience with a kid who, as he continues WetJetting, says, "I'm a big boy now. I'm your best, best helper, huh, Mom?"

Patience. I have so little of it, and even less of it when my kids don't have any. Recently, I told Calvin to be patient and he asked me what it meant. I told him in an exasperated tone of voice that it meant to wait nicely. Apparently I'm not the only one he's asked about patience. Henry started crying in the car yesterday and Calvin said to him, "Henry, we're almost home. Be patient! Do you know what that means? It means to settle down and take it easy!"

Out of the mouths of babes.


Angela said...

What darling children you have. I'm in the "I-can't-leave-my preschooler-and-toddler-alone-for-ten-whole-minutes-with-whatever-it-is-that-they-will-definitely-find-un-childproofed" and "I-don't-plan-on-being-near-anyone-who-cares-if-I-shower-today-until-after-6 p.m.-so-maybe-I'll-clean-up-then" phases, simultaneously. It's really bad when Jay's gone for 4 or 5 days at a time and I don't have to answer to ANYONE. :)

the lizness said...

I read all your posts, and you are a natural! I seriously choked back a tear w/ the Target post, and thanks for being real.
In the words of the Governator, "I'll be back."