I am always trying to figure out the most effective way of doing things. During my grad school internship when I worked in a psychiatric ward in San Pedro, I couldn’t bear wasting time inputting my data into a system that seemed ineffective and from the stone age. Consumed with how tedious the process felt, I spent half a day creating a “better” approach. Luckily, my supervisor was impressed and not offended by my insight. I tell you this because this trait of mine is a blessing and a total curse at times.
How is it a curse you might ask? If anything appears “harder” than it needs to be, I am convinced there must be a better way. Latest case: the never-ending loads of laundry. Instead of simply doing it, I have created this paralysing delusion that I can figure out a better system. So instead of putting in a load, drying it, folding it and putting it away…I waste time creating systems.
Some days, I promise myself I will fold the laundry when Clark wakes up early from his naps and Cooper is still sleeping. My reasoning is that it won’t feel like a waste of time because it is a fun, simple task we can do together. Other days I create piles in specific areas all over the house, forcing me, hopefully, to put away the clothes while the kids are playing in that room. I’ve concluded some chores are always going to feel like work.
The only way I can bear this type of work is to make not-so-fun tasks teaching points. My most recent approach is modeling for Cooper and saying out loud, “Sometimes we need to do things we don’t necessarily like to do.” For me, it is laundry.
My goal this week was to figure out ways to involve my children in cooking and cleaning. Including them in the process makes it a more fulfilling and quality time activity, not something that takes time away from them.
This week we started with the dishes. I hate doing dishes because it feels impossible with a toddler who loves to climb inside the dishwasher and reach for knives. This week, however, I had the brilliant idea of sticking my water-loving, always-wanting-to-help toddler in the sink to help. We have done this a couple of days in a row now and, honestly, it’s good old-fashioned quality time mixed with a little productivity. I use Babyganics dish soap, so I do not worry about the chemicals.
Cooper has helped me complete this week’s #bebetter52 challenge to make a protein breakfast by assisting me in blending our morning smoothie, packed with peanut butter and plant-based protein powder. With the blender on her little iKea table, she put in frozen berries (one at a time, may I add) and scooped the peanut butter. The process felt educational as we named all the vegetables (kale and avocado), fruit (banana, strawberries, blueberries) and seeds (hemp seeds). (Recipes for other protein breakfasts we tried can be seen below.)
Mom life is funny. We all live and operate within our own homes, but I am positive we experience similar challenges. On the other hand, “special” one-of-a-kind moments pop up from time to time that I wonder if other moms experience.
I am going to paint the picture of one of those moments.
Clark was eating in his highchair with only his diaper on because we do baby-led weaning which pretty much means…every meal is a complete mess with food all over the high chair, the ground (luckily, we have a dog), all over him and, once I pick him up, me. I then carry him to the sink where I give him a quick bath. In the process I take off his diaper.
After drying him off, I decide to set him on the rug in his room without a diaper. I think, worse case scenario is that he pees, right? At that point, I receive a phone call. I go in the backyard briefly so I can think clearly and carry on an adult conversation for a minute. That minute is interrupted by Cooper running outside to say, “Clark pooped.” Quickly, I end the conversation to rush into a room AND baby all covered with poop. Literally, Clark was double fisting his own poop. It was in both hands, his head, all over the rug, and his toys.
At this point I have to think fast since our big golden doodle, Tucker, has decided poop is his favorite entrée since Cooper started potty training. If she stands up too fast, and I am not around, Tucker goes in nose first. She now knows she needs to sit on the potty after pooping until mommy can body block Tucker from the portable toilet. So, in this situation my first step is to put Tucker away in the backyard, where, of course, he yelps the whole time to add that extra element of chaos.
Then the real fun begins. Cooper comes into the room and starts gagging. (We noticed Cooper’s gag reflex when Clark was barely a month old and started spitting up a lot. Okay, let me not sugar coat it, he literally would burp/barf up a waterfall of breast milk. It would spew everywhere each time I nursed. Doctors were never concerned, but I became so used to being soaked in regurgitated breast milk, I would rarely change my milk-soaked clothing. Well, whenever Cooper saw the puking, she’d start gagging, like straight out of the scene from Four Christmases. Her eyes would became watery and she’d gag, but she always collected herself and returned to her current activity.) Well, this time she walks into Clark’s room and starts gagging. I tell her to go in the living room so she doesn’t have to smell it. She leaves and announces, “I’m okay now, mama.” She comes back into the room. Of course, the smell is horrible, so she begins gagging again. Back to the living room she marches to refocus. I then hear another “I’m okay now, mama.” She comes back a third time…but this time she bolts out of the room. I follow. She is holding her mouth, and this is where the real fun begins. She throws up all over the living room, holding handfuls of it, looking confused as to what just happened. It was her first time throwing up, and she handled it like a champ.
So a poop-covered baby in a poop-covered room and a vomit-covered toddler in a vomit- covered room. How would you have handled this all-in-a-mom’s-workday experience? Hopefully, you’ll never have to find out.
To summarize, there was no efficient way to clean up this mess. It was a lot of baths, laundry, dishes (all the toys) and scrubbing. On a positive note, however, it seems hilarious now that is over!!