Just So.

“Mommy, mommy, I cweaned da bafroom!” She runs to me as I’m putting clothes away in Quinn’s room.

“Oh, honey, that’s wonder……. ful.” I stop myself from getting excited as my brain begins to process her statement and put it into reality.

Wait a minute, she’s three. She can’t reach the clorox wipes. The bleach is hidden. What did she clean… and how?!

“You cleaned the bathroom?” “Ya!” “What did you clean the bathroom with?”

“I don’t wanna tell you.” 

There it was. There was reality. I reassured her that I wouldn’t get upset as I slowly got up from stuffing drawers with folded pants. I took some deep breaths. We walked to their bathroom. Their new bathroom. The one I just painted and redecorated. The one I didn’t even want to let them use.

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“Oh. Look at that. You cleaned the bathroom with toothpaste. Neat.”

It was in that moment that my frustration turned from Leah to the lovely people at CrestKids. Why in the WORLD was their princess toothpaste SO PINK? Had it always been this color and I had never noticed? Was it the crisp grey towels that made it even more of a blinding pink? I mean, really. Hot pink?? That’s the necessary color to achieve cavity free teeth and fresh breath? They couldn’t come up with something a little more… grey?

“Honey, thank you for cleaning the sink. We don’t normally use toothpaste to clean the sink, though. Toothpaste is for our teeth.” “Ok, mommy.” And she runs away to play, clueless.

God bless.

You hear these stories from “empty-nesters” where they miss these little moments. And I’m sure someday I will miss the littleness, the helpfulness. But I don’t know, I mean, I just bought those pretty grey towels. In a perfect world, I wouldn’t even let the kids use them. They would just adorn the towel rack, stacked and folded on top of each other just so. They wouldn’t even have a wrinkle.

And now they sit in a ball, covered in hot pink toothpaste goodness. And I shake my head and add it to the list.

The list of things that have succumbed to the, ‘Ruiners of All Good and Clean Things.’ My children.

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All four of them. Well, the three of them. Duncan is my favorite most every day. They may look cute enough, but don’t be fooled. They can rip a house apart at the seams. And that yellow one has taken his talents to the backyard. Hole after hole after hole he digs. I don’t know where he thinks he’s trying to go, but he’s certainly trying to get there fast.

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But, believe it or not, he is the least of my worries most of the time.

Warm coffee time is a luxury, am I right or am I right? Sitting down on the floor (to feel like a better mom) with a hot cup of coffee while the four of them dance circles around me at 7:00am is not the same as sitting in Starbucks with a newspaper and a hot cup of coffee, but it’s still kinda nice. I still consider it special to have a warm mug in my hand. Whatdoyaknow, the little one toddles over to me and gets the standard, “ah ah ah, Quinnie, no no, it’s  hot.” And because she’s smart, she knows that when something is hot… you blow on it. And what happens when a 16 month old blows? Spit happens. She blows. I watch the drool fall into my hot cup of coffee and stare blankly. She smiles. I get up and dump it. Cold coffee waiting for me on the counter it is. Maybe I’ll try again tomorrow.

Our (my) current recurring argument is my make-up drawer. For the rare times I feel like looking like a woman who has a clue, I like to wear make-up. It’s not much, and it’s not top of the line, but it gets the job done. Only now, I share with Quinn. She gets in my drawer every chance she gets and digs her grimy little fingers into my eyeshadow and picks… and picks… and picks until it’s crumbled all over my sink. She comes running to me with dark and shimmery little finger prints that look as if she’s just posted bail.

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Not that a lid would stop her, but she broke them all off anyways. My argument isn’t with her (although, I do shout QUINNNNNNNN when I see her coming at me with black paws), but with… her father.  

“Why can’t I ever just HAVE NICE THINGS!?” I toss him some of my frustration as I find Quinn painting my sink with mascara. And his reply? “Why don’t you put the child proof things on the drawer?”

OHHHHHH. Riiiiiight. I’ll just locate the nearest power drill (because I know exactly where it is) and I’ll just start drilling these bad boys into all the cabinets. Because that’s what I have time for in a day. And I certainly have been educated properly in drilling holes into cabinets. And that wouldn’t be a safety hazard at all with 7000 feet underneath me at.all.times. Thank you so much for your suggestion. Come on, kids, let’s go have some fun! And yes, my response was every bit as rude and snarky as that one. He babbled something back about “reminding him to do it,” but we all know how that goes.

So, no. That problem isn’t going away any time soon. Nor are any of the others, I suppose. Because it looks like these kids are sticking around. Samson is a digger. Leah is a cleaning lady in training. Quinn is a make up destroyer. (Duncan is an angel). That’s just who they are. They are little. And those who are older and wiser that me tell me I’m supposed to let them be little and that I will miss this someday, so we will carry on. I will grin and bear it. We can fill holes with new soil, and see if we can get some new grass to grow. We will wash towels covered in pink toothpaste… and then start buying natural toothpaste. And I will keep replenishing my stash of destroyed makeup, and keep wiping the face of my coal miner one year old.

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And I will forget about hot coffee all together.

Because I suppose someday everything will be just so. We will have towels hanging just for decor. I know that someday I will have the nice things I always dream about. My make up will not always be in crumbles. Someday there won’t be little wet nose and sticky finger reminders left on the doors and windows. Someday I will wipe the crayon marks off the walls and the marker off the carpet. I will spend time picking playdoh out of the rug. Because someday it will stay clean longer than 5 minutes. Someday there will be a yard full of lush, green, hole-less grass. Someday there won’t be crumbs caked into every crevice of our leather couches. Kyle and I will have to find something new to fight about, because it certainly won’t be child proofing cabinets. They won’t be little someday. Someday I will sit in my kitchen – in silence – with a cup of hot coffee sans drool and stare at my manicured yard… and hate it. 

And I will pick up the phone and call Leah and remind her of the time she cleaned the bathroom for me.

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