As I rush about my life on my way from one essential task to the next, the thought flits through my head: "this house is such a mess!" I've mentioned before: surely this must be the low point in my housekeeping career.
Each one of my children has their own special way of contributing to the clutter and chaos in the main areas of the house; we're not even going to talk about their bedrooms.
Bean and Fish strew shoes, yucky socks, jackets, backpacks, crumpled school papers, and dirty dishes in their wake.
Roo and Rabbit are responsible for the bobby pins, hair ties, craft project debris, library books, and Legos I find everywhere. They also make things in the kitchen and leave out the dishes and ingredients they used.
Peanut and Frog scatter toys. They play with blocks or dollhouse or magna tiles or train tracks and within a few minutes manage to get them evenly dispersed throughout every part of the house. There'll be blocks in my bed, under the couch, on the stairs, and on the kitchen counters. They also track in mud, dribble crumbs, and leave (wet, muddy) clothes, shoes, and socks all over. Oh, and scratch "Z" for Zorro into the wood finish of every door upstairs.
And then there's the twins.
Where do I even begin with the twins?
The twins think it is their job to take any area of the house that is neatly put away and strew the contents as far and wide as they can. My kitchen towel drawer, the pantry cupboard, the bookshelf, and the shoe bench are some of their favorite places to ravage. Then there's the fact that they get their food and drink everywhere. There are crumbs and dribbly bits every time they eat or drink, and often they will take their entire bowl of food and hurl it and it will spatter impressive distances over walls and floor. There's a reason why we call them "Earthquake" and "Tornado."
And then there's those special times they manage to get their hands on something you don't want everywhere and get it Everywhere... I remember one time they climbed on the kitchen counter and found an open tub of hummus. They dipped their hands in it and rubbed gobs of it all over themselves and all over everything around them, and then they decided to go upstairs, leaving a trail of hummus behind them. Hummus handprints all the way up the stairs... it still makes me giggle when I think about it.
So, I fight this battle on many fronts. It's no wonder I look like I'm losing most of the time. When I can marshal the troops, it's amazing and encouraging how fast it can get clean. And then it's terrifying and discouraging how fast it gets messed up again.
Eventually, though, it will all go away. In five years, it will be a lot better, and in ten years, my house will be unrecognizable from what it is right now. Then I might have a young mother come over and say "oh, I wish my house could be as clean and nice as yours" and I will laugh maniacally.