July 27, 2007

Digging Out of the Madhouse

This morning had a moment so madhouse, I wasn't sure I could pull through it without crying or screaming. The twins were in the tub, and Henry started crying and I realized it was time to nurse him, so I started taking the twins out. It's a little tricky to wrangle them both out by myself, but it's possible. Henry was really working himself up, so I worked fast getting the twins dressed. Then I picked up Henry--and my hand sent me an urgent message that I was not holding a dry, clean baby. He had blown completely through his diaper and outfit, and was sitting in a puddle in his new bouncy seat. And he was screaming so hard, and the bathroom still had pjs and wet towels and bath toys all over it, and I knew I wouldn't be able to clean that up or stain-treat Henry's clothes before he needed to nurse, and I was worried the twins were going to get into the mess on the bouncy seat while I was cleaning up a screaming Henry, and I was still unshowered and wearing my baggy sloppy pajamas which had (1) milk, (2) bath water, and now (3) diaper on them. Not a good moment, is what I'm saying.

Part of my crisis this morning was that the house seemed to have crossed a subtle line between its usual Friendly Squalor and a new state of Unacceptable Horror. In fact, after I decided to see what I could do to improve things, I wandered hopelessly from room to room, near tears, thinking it wasn't even possible to get started. And my mother-in-law is supposedly visiting in October (this is Day 26 of her not telling us she's coming).

But! I got a grip. And I started with the kitchen table, which I have cleaned before on this blog. It doesn't stay clean because we don't eat at it and it's such a handy place to put things. This must change. For one thing, we need to start eating at it. For another thing, I can't stand it the way it is.

Here's the before:


And here's the after:


Hi, table! Long time no etc.!

The tablecloth was ripped in several places, so I threw it out.

20 comments:

Shannon said...

Ugh, I HATE "THOSE" moments where everything enters chaos at the same moment. Sounds like you handled it well!

The table looks great!

Omaha Mama said...

Congrats to you for accomplishing something after that morning. My usual response is to turn on the t.v. with a soda or lay down with the preschooler to nap. Well done you!

Chraycee said...

I have exactly the same issue with my dining table - only next to mine is a giant (4-5 feet wide) birdcage with a cockatoo whose very purpose in life is to throw out as much food as she can while making as much noise as she can. And people wonder why I never invite them over for dinner...

I adore your blog - read it every day. My first baby is now 7 weeks old and I find that I can relate to much of what you post. :)

JMC said...

Right now, my entire house looks like your "before" picture. And I often feel like just crawling under a rock and waiting for it to clean itself. :)

Mommy Daisy said...

Aww, I'm sorry to hear about your horrible morning. I hate when everything comes crashing down all at once like that. I hope everything is better now.

It's funny that you should post this today. Most of my house is in order, and I don't do too badly keeping up with it on a daily basis. BUT our office seems to be the pit of doom. No matter how much time I spend "trying" to clean it, it ends up a terrible mess again. My husband has been wanting to get rid of one of the desks we have in there. I would love to, since it would give us a lot more room. The problem was what would I do with all the things that I need to get to that I was storing in the desk. He helped me pick out a cabinet with doors on it. Last night he put it together, and today I started cleaning the office. I would say I'm about half done. I've reorganized, thrown away, put away, and sorted. It's coming along nicely.

I know what you mean, it feels good to accomplish something.

Tessie said...

PLEASE tell me that you eat somewhere like "at the coffee table in front of the tv, with the high chair rolled up alongside". Because I have this,um,FRIEND who does that and it would make her feel a lot better about her lack of "family values".

Swistle said...

JMC-- MINE TOO. I'm going to see if I can tackle one several-square-foot area at a time, maybe be dug out near Christmas.

Tessie-- Oh, what a coincidence, MY friend also eats at HER coffee table! OR, sometimes she sits in a recliner, balancing a plate on her knees! And, at my friend's house, the kids eat at about 5:30, and the parents eat later after the kids go to bed, so they can watch grown-up TV shows while they eat! And then when my MIL visits, I clear off the table and try to pretend we eat that way all the time just like civilized people! Er, I mean, that's what my FRIEND does.

jen said...

Sometimes when I want to eat at the couch like I did in the old days, T brings the kids their food and they eat it at their little dora activity table, and he sits there with them because he's a prude and can't stand not eating on a table. It seems his mother forgot to teach him how to eat on the couch...

Pixie said...

Tessie, don't feel bad, i mean your friend shouldn't feel bad. We actually own a coffee table that rises up for the very purpose of sitting on the couch in front of the TV to eat. It was the one piece of furniture my husband insited we had to have when we bought our house. We try to sit at the kitchen table most nights but I find more nad more often we are parked in front of the TV with the handy dandy coffe table pulled up and the girl in her high chair pulled up along side.
Is that bad????

Michele said...

I had an evening like that last night. This morning sucked too. I have dim hopes for the weekend ahead. Perhaps I can hide under your ripped tablecloth until Monday?

Erica said...

No one's friends should feel bad about eating in the living room. We do it, too. Maddie's highchair is one of those space-saving ones that straps to a chair, so she's the only one that eats at the table. Gerald and I eat while sitting in our recliners watching TV after she goes to bed. When she's older, though, we plan on having family dinners at the table. Right now, there's really no point at all.

Erica said...

Oh and Swistle, I have to play devil's advocate here - Where'd all the stuff go that was on the table? Did you put it all away where it belongs, or did you simply move the pile elsewhere so the table is clean? Because that's totally what I would've done.

Colleen said...

The whole "day 26 of not being told" thing is really bugging me. Do you know the exact dates she's coming? I can't remember... is she driving... or has she booked tickets to fly? I think at some point in a conversation with her you should make some comment about how you're all planning on taking a much needed family vacation... and it happens to be in October on the exact dates she's planned but hasn't told you. Then see what she says. I'm extremely annoyed for you.

Devan said...

What is it a full moon? I swear my morning sounds very similar...
WTG on the table! looks great. :)

Kelsey said...

Our kitchen table is pretty clear, but the rest of the house is dangerously close to that horrific line. . . and, um, I have just the one kid over here! Although the dog is good for plenty of mess himself. And my husband likes to pile things on any vertical surface which doesn't help either. Wouldn't it be nice to just let it all fall apart and then pick up and move into a new house complete with all the stuff we need? I'd like to see someone set me up with that plan!

laughing mommy said...

"the house seemed to have crossed a subtle line between its usual Friendly Squalor and a new state of Unacceptable Horror"

I wish I didn't know what you meant by that statment. Sadly, I know very, very well what you mean.

Swistle said...

Erica-- Oh. Um. Well. I'd say that I put away the things that COULD be put away: Elizabeth's shoes, a magic set, a screwdriver. But other things were on the table because they don't have established homes, and those I sort of, um, moved to other flat surfaces: bin of children's books moved to top shelf in another room, several of Paul's books moved to another tottering heap in the living room, several of Paul's projects (biosphere, origami, etc.) moved to a ledge in the downstairs family room area.

Swistle said...

Colleen: No exact dates yet; she just said "in October." And she's planning to drive, which unfortunately means she's flexible. Urg.

MrsGrumpy said...

I got up---Ready To Clean---an RTC day! And ended up getting caught up in America's Next Top Model instead... Ummm... It's a marathon, cycle three, and I've never seen it before. So, therefore, I've got to watch. The house? It'll be here tomorrow. Or even the next day.

Tina G said...

Wow. And I thought I was the only person walking through her house today form room to room thinking "how the **** am I ever going to attack this clutter because it is everywhere and growing daily?" I felt slightly panicky, despite the fact that the mess is always here. I think I crossed the threshold, though. Minus the twins and the blowout diaper, I was right there with you. You handled it with grace! I have one small kid and I can't keep up. the other one is going off to college, and taking some of the clutter with him, I hope.