Kids keep growing. Back-to-school forms keep arriving. Work keeps happening (hooray! Freelance writers love deadlines). Kids’ art keeps accumulating. Everyone’s stuff keeps accumulating (and we don’t really spend much time shopping).
Laundry requires laundering, folding, and being put away. All that laundering leads to more laundering. Food is obtained, prepared, and eaten, leading to dishes. Dishes must be cleaned and put away. More food must be obtained.
You get what I’m saying?
Times four kids?
Donald Barthelme wrote: Chaos is a position but a weak one. I used that as a high school yearbook quote and have been thinking recently about how darn prophetic a quote it is (also chosen, from Bread and Jam for Frances: Gloria liked to practice on a string bean when she could). Chaos, I think it plagues me, or is a plague on my house or something like that.
While I am not terribly handy or crafty, and do not aspire to a totally pristine house—much as I would like a bunch (really, truly) more order, I don’t exactly aspire to anything resembling perfection. I don’t even necessarily care to be more handy or crafty, although recently I’ve kind of perfected making granola—it’s so tasty and better than anything I could buy—and I’m so tickled with my newfound ability—much more impressive a feat than baking, say at this moment in my own eyes—that I kind of get the sense that if I were able to knit beautiful things or make wonderful jam, I’d just feel prouder than I previously imagined I might feel. Doing things well is cool. My second son has that sense from his truly astonishing emerging culinary prowess.
So, if you’re a friend of mine and are given some granola, be happy before you even take a taste; it’s that good (plus, it’s made with affection). And, if you’re invited by my Lulu for supper, do bring your appetite. He’s not batting a thousand yet, but he’s getting closer. When he’s on, these days, he’s just so very on.
Being the adult negotiating all things kitchen with him isn’t always easy, but that’s another story.
Anyway, I’d love to figure out how I might plow through the chaos, keep working, have my kids occupied or engaged in the process and ideally, we’d do all that before school starts. Since I’m complaining about all things house, I also need to figure out how to get four kids more happily rearranged in three bedrooms or somehow find a better solution to the four-kids-in-three-bedrooms situation. The two middle guys are sharing a room, these days somewhat unhappily. For a big house, we have small bedrooms.
I’m thinking about somehow convincing the number one son to move downstairs, but so far he’s totally resistant to that notion (I get it, he has arguably the best bedroom).
I’m also thinking about moving the toddler girl into second boy’s room, because he really hates to be alone and third boy wants his old room (hers) back. If you are reading and now trying to problem-solve, know that there are two more wrinkles here: one is she’s still in a crib and when that ends (probably sooner than I’d like) she may beeline for our bed along with those middle brothers, who often end up there. That’s wrinkle number two, our inadvertent family bed that seems (at times, especially as these boys grow) both sweet (in theory sometimes more than practice) and endless (for the foreseeable future at least).
Lest you think the brilliant solution is to kick them out, I’ll say up front that while I’m not a formal Attachment Parenting person, at the least I’m a mush-ball and I’m sleepy in the middle of the night and often trying to do other than some sharing leads to lost sleep and even yelling, so I’m probably not about to put a halt to our ersatz co-sleeping ways.
Chaos, though, chaos and plowing through, like everything else, it’s one step at a time, right?
My mother spearheaded the dining table (note, too, because I love this, the Donna McGee tile we use as trivet; I adore her cows almost most of all). I got through much of the kitchen counter that serves as my workspace at the same time and Remy, my most organized of children at age seven, helped, too.
As I explained (more like complained) to my mom, I went through a huge pile of clothing at the beginning of the summer, packed some up, gave lots away and already must do it again. And who has time? I kind of don’t but must figure out how to create time for this. Weekly? Daily? Pull out my hair instead and drown in stuff? Those seem like the only available options.
I find it amusing—and at times even a little disturbing—that I’ve developed a total fascination with design blogs. But I really have a newfound soft spot for this corner of the blogosphere.
Plenty of the design-y, sometimes foodie, cool stuff-loving (and I have a push-pull feeling about cool stuff, truth be told, again another story for another day) mama bloggers also happen to be kind of young, hip in their ways, and LDS (as in, Mormon, but not the Big Love or creepy news story kind). At the risk of offending anyone, I keep wondering about the religion angle. I think that’s part of what keeps me hooked, how on the one hand totally open and willing to say almost anything the lovely (and I really do mean lovely) Gabrielle Blair is (and her sister, Jordan Ferney, is lovely, too). Or Damaris at Bebeloo, she’s so refreshingly honest. These women also adhere to a whole set of beliefs I think I might find restrictive or in some ways difficult, being the reproductive justice feminist gal I am (but maybe not, I am truly fascinated and filled with admiration).
So, I guess I’m in it for more things than design, but you know what? I really like looking and dream of some sort of green-hippie(ish)-feminist-cute-stuff-and-order-loving offering of my own someday.
Maybe the pretty (and orderly) worlds I’m peeking into provide inspiration for chaos reduction and affirmation that in fact (see Donna McGee tile and Robert Quigley table) I do, beneath it all, have my own sense of good taste and style. And I can celebrate that (without apology?).