Every now and then Mommy needs a time out. I’m the first to admit things happen, the other day P grabbed O’s dinner (rice and peas with butter) off the table and vigorously dumped it all over the kitchen floor. O cheered him on and demanded I get the “keener!”
These things happen, and I have to sweep the kitchen floor about twice a day anyway, and we steam mop at least once a week, so a little rice with peas and butter isn’t the end of the world (or that much more work).
But every now and then, something happens that I’m less okay with. Yesterday as I was playing freezer tetris with our Costco haul, O informed me that “us pay up-tairs in pay-room” so he opened the gate and he and P went up to the playroom.
Gavin was working upstairs in the office with the door open, I heard him acknowledge the boy’s arrival (and chase them out of the office). I heard giggling, and went back to focusing on how to best fit the butter. When I was done loading up the freezer, I headed up stairs which increasing alarm – it was just too quiet.
When the boys heard me on the stairs they started giggling, and then I saw what they were giggling about: they had pulled every piece of clothing out of both of their chest-of-drawers and strewn it all over their shared bedroom.
There are no words.
As the boys helped me pile all the clothing into a basket I asked O why he had done it. He had a simple explanation: “baby help!” No kidding, the baby helped, P was waving a shirt around when I walked in.
After we picked up the clothes, we picked up the playroom, and then I locked myself (and the huge pile of clothing) in the bedroom.
I reminded myself that they are 3.5 and 13 months old and they’re kids and they were just having fun. It was not done with malicious intent, it was not done to create more work for mommy. For them, it was a fun, collaborative effort which resulted in colorful piles all over their bedroom. For me it was seeing hours of handwork – laundry that had been washed, dried, folded and put away carefully to maximize the limited dresser space – thrown away.
After half an hour or so (and a long conversation with a friend who is a mom of three), I emerged from the bedroom, slightly less irritated with them. Thankfully the dinner/bath/bedtime routine went smoothly.
With the assistance of really bad reality wedding TV shows on Netflix I spent the evening sorting piles and piles of little kid clothing. Then I watched some more really bad TV and folded piles and piles of little kid clothing.
When I was done, I took the folded piles of laundry (in their little ikea sorting boxes) and shut them in the office (with the baby gate shut and the kid-proof door knob on the closed door).
I also made sure to have some ice cream (homemade roasted banana fudge ripple with pecans), because ice cream makes everything better. The upside of all of this is that I weeded out a bin-full of too-small clothing (some to pass along to P, and some to pass along entirely), and I was able to sort more efficiently to maximize the limited space in the chest-of-drawers.
That said, if they pull this stunt again, I’m not sure I’ll manage to be as positive about all of this. I think I’ll need a something a bit more drastic than just a short time out and some ice cream, like cake, or a night out.