the story of (our) stuff

Is it just me or does it seem like babies are born into the world and then immediately have all their junk shipped overnight to your house? It's like one day I went into labor and left for the hospital with a neat, tidy home only to return to overturned furniture and primary-colored plastic crap littering every square inch of my house.

All my kids leave little snail trails of stuff wherever they roam but Iris has the most intriguing style of creating a mess. She likes to put stuff in stuff. She gathers every assortment of container she can find-- laundry baskets, tupperware, toy bins, hampers-- and dumps everything she owns into them. Helping her clean up is maddening because it's essentially starting from scratch to put everything back where it belongs. We've talked about it a lot this week because frankly I'm sick of dealing with the mess. The kids don't really have a lot of toys but they do have a few toys with a lot of small parts. Like this:

And this:

And of course, these:

This afternoon I walked into Iris's room where she and Ocean were up to no good. I knew this was the case because as soon as I crossed the threshold into her room they both fell prostrate and remained perfectly quiet and still, as if they were playing dead. They call this Camouflage, and they do it when they're making bad choices. Sure enough, they had a laundry basket full of plastic animals from A to Z, all the play food from their kitchen and about 20 plastic hangers that came out of goodness-knows-which closets. (A nest, Iris informed me later.) Also, Ocean was wearing his Wolverine costume and Iris had blue glitter paint on her face but that seems to be beside the point.

Now I don't know if it's the cabin fever or the snow we got last night or this cold we've been passing around for a month but for some reason this little scene was my tipping point. I got the trash bags and started putting stuff in them. I wonder how often Salvation Army gets "Mom's Final Straw" donations? Well, they're getting one this weekend. Holla!

After a brief lecture on being responsible for their things I tossed the dirty laundry they had emptied from the basket down the stairs and started making my way down after it when Ocean, pointing solemnly at the pile of laundry at the bottom of the steps said, rather altruistically, "Actually, Mommy, you need to be responsible for your things."


Candice said...

Ahhh the honesty of a 5-year old....God love em.

Big EZ said...

"Blue glitter paint...." sounds like a new post coming on that explanation. And I absolutely cracked up about them being "camouflaged". Children are like spices. Would our food and lives be bland without them?

Meliss said...

This blog entry made my only-child, currently childless husband really scared. I made him read it. I have been trying to warn him for years about what a tornado of a house you have once children are around. I grew up with 2 younger siblings, and I swear that our house didn't start looking like a house again until I was 16.

On a grammar-loving note, I just want to thank you for writing Iris's and not Iris'. Can we spread some of that knowledge around??

Cassie said...

Melissa, I have similar memories of our house growing up with 4 of us kids. It turns out that my mom is actually a really neat and tidy person, but you never would have known it when we were little. I feel so badly for how we made her house look!

I will say that I'm trying to play clean-up catch-up now to make up for the last few years. We've moved a bunch and with all the health drama I've not had time/energy/desire to get organized and purge to the degree that's necessary with three little ones. I would wager that I'm a tad more overwhelmed/snowed under than the average mom currently. No need to scare your man! ;)

Thanks for the props on my mad apostrophe-placing skillz. Funny, because apostrophes are typically my grammatical nemeses.