Today was quite a day in the mothering department.
It began with vomit… again.
Yesterday began with vomit. I took it as a sign from God that it was time to do a deep clean. Much like the time I was putting off scrubbing the kitchen area rug when I dropped a raw chicken on it, cleanliness is next to, well, God wanted to be close to my kitchen rug.
So, yesterday the bathroom got scoured, the kitchen got scoured, sheets got changed, the apartment was vacuumed, and five loads of laundry got done, all before ten am. That’s how early all of this nonsense started. I used to have friends that knew not to call me before ten am.
So, today began with vomit again. Sometime in the middle of the night my son woke, vomited, washed his hands and mouth, and put himself back to bed on the other side of his bed. It was mostly dry when I happened upon it in the morning cascading down the side of the bunk bed with a bit landing on the extra pillow next to my daughter’s head (!). And as he so accurately put it, “It just looks like food now, Mom”, which it did, vegetable soup, to be as exact as I think you care me to be.
I gave up the idea of a deep clean number two and satisfied myself with damage control. Laundry was started, things were disinfected, wiped down, and sick children were sent to the shower.
On a side note, I never considered pillows washable until I had children when they became, out of necessity, washable. My son, the vomiting one, used to wake up and vomit only on his pillows. I have begged him many times to simply turn around and vomit on the blankets.
After all this, I managed to squeeze in a shower before the husband had to leave for the offices. I was washing the whatever off of me when my son walked in with a slight poop accident. “I thought it was a fart, Mom.”
I vaguely remember being clean. I remember when spit up on me was a big deal. I remember when I changed my first baby’s outfits five times a day in an attempt to keep him in clean clothes. I remember being peeved when I got wet at bath time.
But it’s been a long time. Even dressed up with makeup on I feel like I carry a film from the very memory of poppy diapers and picking sticky babies out of highchairs after jammy toasts. It would be better if I wasn’t so aware of, also thanks to motherhood, how things that you wouldn’t think could, can create particles and spread them to the ends of the known world only to be discovered years later. Is that a bean trapped underneath the baseboard? Yes, they can furl things from them with enough force to lodge them underneath a baseboard.
And rice! Why do I ever serve rice?!
At any rate, you can tell this post isn’t city-specific. Paint the details a different color and it becomes motherhood anywhere. It’s a messy business and slightly glorious. So, now I’ll give you the slightly glorious side, because there always seems to be just enough to tide you through the mess.
We have a family rule, no screen time until you’re five. We don’t own a television. It’s my own little creative experiment and it’s worked great so far. Like any other Mommy experiment you have to really want it and Dad has to be with you on this one. So, when people get sick around here I often think “This is where I’d be turning on a movie.” But, let’s face it, if I wasn’t breaking the rule last spring when I was the physical embodiment of morning sickness and my children were the physical exception to Newton’s first law, then the rule isn’t breaking. Instead, we end up doing like we did today and pulling a large edition of Little House on the Prairie into our laps and reading chapter after chapter on the couch. I made a mental note while I was reading, “Remember this, Barbara!” Glorious!
And then, I was feeding them dinner (Rice?!) with a side of trepidations wondering if there was anything else I could give them that would be more pleasant coming up. But they were feeling better, much better (just like yesterday). So, my eldest son insisted on cleaning the apartment by himself. And my daughter wanted to do the dishes.
“Alright,” I said, “I’ll vacuum the collection of food from under baby’s chair.”
“No, no,” my daughter said, “I want to do that, too!”
“Well, what should I do?” I asked.
“You sit down and edit-ate your book, Mom,” she said.
So I did. I edit-ated my book while the apartment got cleaned.
Messy and glorious all at the same time, like most kinds of life lived well.