Wednesday, May 11, 2011

No use Crying over Spilled MIlk

....a mom must have come up with that phrase after the 1000th time cleaning up after her precious little bundle of joy. Seriously. Seriously I was not prepared for what is the mess of having a child.

The first six months is not that bad in retrospective. Its just poop that expodes all over the place and spit-up. But brace yourself...the mess lurks just around the corner. We walked into Walter's aunt's house last year (Walter was about 8 months, and his cousin 4 years old.) and it was cluttered with toys pushed to the side, under the couches and incorporated into the living room decor. I stood there in my ivory tower and wispered quietly to Jose "we will never let our house look like that". Ummm yeah, a year later it does I say as I am eating my humble pie.

Don't be fooled by "the mess" in the beginning it really is a begnin presence, some baby food here, a dropped utensil there. It really starts at around six months for two reasons, most babies start eating solids AND they have the motor skills to throw things. Why, oh, why would mother nature be so cruel, doesn't she know that is a messy combination?  So food is thrown, toys are thrown, then they become mobile and toilet paper and boxes of Kleenex are fascinating beyond all belief , there are  the dumped glasses of water, pulled books off the shelves, the gravity game from the high chair with the baby food--splat on the floor, hand prints on the windows, marker on the floor and before you know it the mess is all consuming. And you could be cleaning all day long and still not make a dent in it. Because once one mess is cleaned another has been created.

You have two options, fight it--cry over the spilled milk. Or embrace it--growing up is a messy adventure.

Embracing it is hard, especially when I was so judgmental about the messes of others just a year ago. But mess is the nature of growing up. Its gonna get messy. Its how you deal with cleaning up I think is the key. At our house we have a couple of rules:
  •  if something spills we clean it up right away. And so far Walter loves doing this.
  •  At the end of the night we put away all the toys/art supplies/books that were taken out and not put away throughout the day
  •  Try to put the last book read on the shelf before taking a new one off (we are at 50%) with that one. 
  • Walter throws away his own diaper
I am also lucky in the fact that Walter loves to dust and use the broom so I foster this behavior any chance I get and praise him for the great job he did. I live with the hope that one day, in the not so near future the mess will leave, but I know better. So I have my friend the mess to keep me company.

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