Kids or no kids, no house I keep would ever be perfect. I'm no Martha Stewart (cooking aside, perhaps.) I'm an ah-tist, dah-ling - a lazy one, raised in the age of feminism, no less, yet another example of how homemaking is a dying art. But I do like a semblance of order as much as the next girl. I don't make deep cleaning a regular habit, (though I can say I do have lofty intentions and sometimes go through spurts, usually after my youngest's first birthday and just before the next one's due date), but I do like the house to have that peaceful feeling it has when it is at least straightened up, dishes done, floors swept, and enough clean laundry for us to dress ourselves with. But throw Baby Number Three in there, baby, and even that is difficult to keep up with.
All day, on my way to fix lunch, change a diaper, wipe a bottom, often babe-in-arm, I pass so many things that need doing (and undoing) that I have started just telling myself, "I don't see that," and for the most part, it works. Dog hair on the floor? I don't see it. The Christmas tree still up? I don't see it. All the wearable clothes in my closet half-dirty and piled there on a baby seat Will outgrew two months ago? I don't see it. I do see the poo poo in the little potty chair that needs to be emptied; I'll get to it in a minute.
I need to make a rule, by the way, that once you are potty-trained, the little potty chair is off limits. Kids love going in those things. I'm always emptying the potty chair, thinking, "I need to move this to the garage." But just when I'm about to, it's time to potty-train the next one. One time we had a party with a lot of kids, and I'm telling you, after they left, there was potty and poo poo in every toilet and little potty chair in the house. It's as if they were so excited at all the different places they could go, they decided to try all of them.
Some things you do see, though, if you pass them every day and they're at eye level, for example, the dirty smear on the blinds where I tried to wipe off the dust with my finger one day six months ago. Every morning and every night when we go to, alternately, let in a little light and give ourselves some privacy, we see it. Today it was finally driving me as crazy as Shep said it's been driving him (though not crazy enough for him to do anything about it), and so I cleaned all the blinds, on that window, at eye level. Now Shep will think I've cleaned them all, and I think I might let myself be fooled as well.
Something else I saw, yesterday morning when I was putting on my shoe: a little sticker stuck inside. Kids love stickers, too, just to take them and stick them on things, and if you don't peel them off right away, they can become permanent fixtures. This one had been there awhile; I didn't bother working on it. I was just glad I'd peeled out the one that was in Grace's hair before I dropped her off at preschool. Besides, it made me smile. I had a flash of how precious it would be to find that sticker once I don't have anyone sticking them on things anymore. It's precious now. Like I know one day I'll smile back fondly on the year I left the Christmas tree up til March. I'm smiling now.