I can’t exactly claim that my house was a temple before the girls were born. The occasional dust bunny would hop out of hiding now and again, and sometimes the newspaper would pile up for a day or so. But all in all, my house was clean, and it was orderly. Clutter was kept to a bare minimum, and I relished clean countertops and everything on the end tables being arranged “just so”.
Enter A and B.
The first couple of months after the girls were born, the orderliness of the house was the last thing on my mind. The mail, for one, piled up…and up…and up. And then those piles got pushed aside to make room for piles of bottles, the bottle warmers, the bottle sterilizer, the baby how-to books, and the pictures. (I seriously could devote an entire room just to pictures.)
My once- minimalist-style den slowly transformed into what surely looks like a small-scale (crowded!) day care center, complete with too many toys, pack-and-plays, bouncers, swings, and exercisers. And our guest room could easily pass for a baby goods distribution center, housing all the yet-too-big and now-too-small items not currently in use.
Over the past year (wow…did I just say that???), I’ve been slowly trying to regain some semblance of “normalcy”, although I have soooo had to redefine that word for myself. “Normalcy” these days is being able to eat at the kitchen table and find the bills before they’re due. I can see portions of my countertops, although I’ve had to make significant concessions for the bottle paraphernalia. (Sadly, that hasn’t gone anywhere yet…but that’s another story.)
One thing I haven’t compromised, though, is cleanliness. If anything, I may have gotten a little more anal-retentive, especially in the kitchen, thinking about the insidious germs that might be lurking dangerously close to my baby girls’ cream of wheat. I have gone to great lengths to maintain this cleanliness, including – one might say – feeding the babies separately so I could “manage” how much mess they were making.
I reluctantly dispensed with that structure a couple of weeks ago. And much to my pleasant surprise, the girls did pretty well with me feeding them at the same time. Yes, they made a little more mess, but it was still “manageable”.
Well…I took a major step yesterday. I let the girls feed themselves.
Last night I cut a piece of baked fish into bite-sized pieces and put one piece at a time on each of the girls’ trays. Baby A was amazingly skilled at feeding herself, with minimal mess, at least relatively speaking.
Baby B, however, was a little more free-spirited. About midway through her fish, she started banging on her tray. The fish got squished. And then she decided to play peek-a-boo by covering her eyes with her hands. And there went the hair. Try as I might have to maintain decorum, by the end of the meal – which also included sliced peaches coated in graham cracker crumbs – Baby B was all but covered in food, as was the high chair and the floor.
What to do???
Well, I bathed Baby B as best I could with paper towels and a wash cloth. I pulled as much food out of her hair as I could, and then used a comb for the remainder. I mopped the floor under the highchairs, and after the girls went to bed, I washed the highchair seat cushions. I'll even admit that there were a couple of times when I had to fight my gag reflex as I cleaned up the squished fish and pieces of peaches.
At the end of the day, though, despite my repulsion, I was quite proud of the girls…and of me. :)