My son is clanging through my Shabbos cutlery. Somehow, he pulled the drawer open, and found a gold mine (or is that stainless steel mine) of forks, and spoons to play with (he has this thing for spoons).
The other day(s) he’s gotten into my pantry, opened up boxes of pasta and eaten them –raw. He liked it. My Panko crumbs, bread crumbs and cornflake crumbs were also opened – eaten, contents poured lovingly all over my kitchen floor (still haven’t figured out how he got the plastic tops open).
I’ve since gotten a lock for my pantry, but the moment I open it, for my own usage, his ears perk up, he knows the squeaking of the door, and running he comes, wedging himself between me and the door make a mad grab for anything he can reach while I’m preoccupied getting my own wares. He knows he only has nano-seconds. Last time he got the onion soup mix, or course, he got that open, and I had to vacuum by living room – for the third time that day.
Another day, he was dragging around diapers; when I took them away from him, I found them to be wet and heavy. Following the trail, I found that he had gotten into my diaper stash, took two of them to the bathroom and dunked them into the toilet. You wonder where they even get the idea from.
He likes my napkin rings. They’re gold ropes with oversized crystals at the end. He can play with them for quite a while. How he found them in the first place, I’ll never know.
I used to stress, and flip out about all the things he got himself into. I’d find myself running after him, expo facto and trying clean up, reprimand, get things out of his hands. It wasn’t working. I was stressed; he was kvetchy, and I had a house to clean.
And then I remembered an old sign in my father’s dark room at work. Next to “The day you’re down to your shabbiest socks is the day your boos takes you out to a Japanese restaurant”, was the sign, “Cleaning a house while children are growing is like shoveling while it’s still snowing.” The dark room is long gone, really long gone, but I still remember that sign,(dunno why a sign about parenting intrigued me at age 8 ) and it’s too true. I was fighting a losing battle, not even losing – but pointless.
I’ve since relented. And my home is not as neat as I’d like it to be, during the day at least. Come 30 seconds after he’s gone to sleep, and I’m on my hands and knees collecting that days damages. And I’ve stopped making excuses to people that visit, this is my home, I have a child and we are happy.
Y’ know, I’ve got to appreciate that this is probably the only time in life where it’s more effective to clean up after a mess than to prevent it.