There is a conspiracy to make me clean my apartment.
Those who know me will laugh, because I am a neat freak. I tolerate piles of untidiness, confined to baskets, placed in specific corners. If your home is a bit tidier after I leave, well, I do apologize. And I do apologize - often - until the SIL told me, kindly, that she was prepared to tolerate my obvious neurosis. The FIL invited me to stay for a week…
And now we have mice. First one mouse, now two. The Eldest, entranced, spent some time singing ‘come out, come out little mousie’ songs to the pantry, while I grimly collected exterminator phone numbers (from Angie’s List, BTW, a wonderful resource) and chasing the boys around with a dustpan.
Two days later, my kitchen is spotless, my pantry organized into barracks made of plastic or glass, and the floors gleaming. I spent a Martha moment wishing the pantry’s containers all matched, then moved on.
To the dining room. Earlier that day, the Eldest had managed to bonk his head with a childgate. Okay, I’d bonked his head with the gate – I opened it, only to realize that his head was at ankle height (how? when? what the hell?) and bumped his forehead with it. It wasn’t a hard whack, and I managed to overlook that today he has no clotting protein in him. None. For lo, it is Wednesday, and on Wednesdays we assume that the Mama can keep the boy from sufficient harm.
But back to the diningroom, where the Eldest was amusing himself by demanding toll each time I passed while clearing the table. In the kitchen, I heard a swish and a thump, and came back into the diningroom to see the Eldest lying on the ground, the tablecloth hanging down, and a glass shattered around him. He looked shocked – and oddly glittery.
Hold still, I barked, and he burst into tears. I settled him, picked glass out of his hair, vacuumed up the halo of glass shards around him until I was able to let him sit up and climb out of the mess. Twenty minutes later, the glass was vacuumed up (a wonderful thing, the Miele!), the table cloth was removed, and he and I were companiably sitting and washing off the chairs. One by one, he handed me paper towels and I scrubbed his chair, the baby’s chair.
Ouch, he said meditatively, putting a hand to the top of his head. Not, I noted, to the spot where his head had met the gate. Oh, dear.
I called the hematologists to discuss dosages (no head CT necessary, I told them – and made it sound good). There was glass on him, glass around him, I said giddily, but none underneath! Oh, my, said the young doc, you’re going to need to coat the floor in foam for that one. Surprised, I stopped. And then carefully explained that perhaps even this child needs to fall, once in a while?
We agreed that I had to give him points for drama, and I hung up. Walking up to the bath, where the Eldest was complaining of pain in his right hip, I noticed three single sheets of paper towel, laid neatly in a line under the table. It looked like an ellipsis. Oh, I thought, so something is next, is it?
Five minutes later, I was putting the last of my carefully packaged, mouse-resistant pantry items away. I hoisted the last, the sunflower seeds for our bird feeder, an item much adored by the mice, and felt a gentle yet solid rain.
The sunflowers poured down on me, on my stepstool, coating the floor and scattering happily into the next room. Giggling somewhat maniacally, I pulled out the vacuum cleaner again. Five minutes later, the floor was sunflower-free, and I sat on it. Next to me, the vacuum burped happily.
I need chocolate.