Thursday, January 10, 2008

almost like a tornado, only cuter

I so needed Gabe's nap today. I mean, I love this kid to death, but today has been one of those days where I was really to weep just a tiny bit by the time I settled him into his comfy crib.

Gabe is a path of destruction in our house.

While I put away laundry last night, he opened drawers in my dressers and threw clean clothes onto the floor. He opened the linen closet and dumped out plastic bins of lotions and batteries. He opened up a toiletry kit and quietly disassembled and chewed on tampons. He used our wicker laundry hamper as a walker across the upstairs hallway. He pulled baskets off of shelves, dumped out trash cans. He moved the dog bed into a different room. He crawls under the beds to pull out shoes and magazines. He pulls books off of book shelves.

And of course with his own toys, he takes puzzles apart and scatters pieces around the rooms. He slides blocks under the couches, he hides balls in the corners of the rooms. He has a new play kitchen with lots of play food that are marvelous to throw all over the place. Worst of all, he hides my keys and my cell phone and our remote controls.

It's exhausting. He is relentless. Sweet, loving, adorable, but RELENTLESS.

All of this happens while I'm standing there watching him, but what can I do? It is a full-time job just following him around and putting stuff away. I feel like the house is always a disaster, even when I'm trying so hard to keep it neat.

I'm overwhelmed by life these days, and I think my little path of destruction is no small part of that. I just can't keep up with everything that needs to be done, and I'm exhausted all the time. It feels like the house is always messy, the laundry is always piled high, there is always a long list of things to be accomplished. Ironically, when Gabe was a newborn, I felt more in control of our lives, I think partly because I didn't feel badly letting things like neatness go. Now that Gabe is a year old, though, I think I should be an expert at home organization and meal management and errand running.

When naptime comes along, I'm so exhausted all I want to do is collapse on the couch and have a snack, forget about throwing in a load of laundry, but I need to come up with some way to finish all the things that need to be done.

I don't know if it is the fact that Josh has been traveling nonstop for the last couple of months, or that when he is home he is working late and on weekends, or that Gabe got those ear infections, or that I got sinus infections and ear infections, or that my mom was visiting and then my mother-in-law was visiting and then my law-school roommate was visiting, and then my parents and in-laws were visiting or maybe it's the weather, or maybe it is the fact that Josh has been too tired to help at all when he is home. It could also be the non-stop diarrhea that has been plaguing this house for the last 4 days. That could definitely be it.

Am I missing something? Is there a secret system that some people know to get things accomplished? Or does it just take time and effort? Clue me in, por favor!


Chatty said...

the system we have in our house is that once Sweetie gets home, I drink enough wine that the mess all becomes a fuzzy blur. And then I don't care so much.


Seriously though, cut yourself some slack! It gets harder as they get more active, NOT EASIER. I just had a very funny chat with a mom friend of mine who's children are school age and she said that from time to time she still gets the urge to have another, but then she remembers that she's a year and a half away from being FREE (it's when her youngest graduates from Preschool into kindergarten)!

Pick and chose what needs to get done and when. It can't all get done every day. Or it can, but look at what that did to Bree Van de Kamp Hodge. My naptimes are almost always reserved for having a snack and watching my cable news channel. It's my happy place.

Beth & Rob said...

I've got real advice but just wanted to tell you that you are doing a great job. Look at all the craziness that has been going on. You are entitled to weep, in fact sob! I just love the fact that you are honest about it and don't pretend you are a domestic goddess that has it all nailed. I love to read all your stories and think you do an amazing job. Well done for all you do! Happy New Year and happy (bealted) B'day to Gabe!

susan said...

Just get used to mess. Use his nap time to sleep yourself, or otherwise rest up.

Gabe isn't too young (or is almost not too young) to help you "clean up," though: you can make a game out of putting things back IN things--take turns, sing songs, do hand-over-hand, yours on his, to get things back in. I generally tried to get Curious Girl to put away one set of mess before pulling out another one. Mess still happens, to be sure. And mostly, you just need to get used to that.

Meika said...

Oh! Our lives! They are the same! (Except for that last paragraph of craziness. We've just had a couple teeth and colds and an ear infection and a few nights of working late and some upacking. You totally win.) But the Chloster is playing the exact same games and it is driving me batty. I feel like I had just started to get a handle on the house when the Tasmanian Devil in her came out! Oh, and she's dropping her morning nap. So. Not. Cool.

I have only a couple little tricks up my sleeve, courtesy of Flylady. First, I get my clothes out the night before so I can get dressed really quickly and without thinking in the morning. Then I've claimed the half hour between 7:00 and 7:30 as MINE. I shower, dress, unload the dishwasher (impossible with curious little hands) and toss in a load of laundry before Mike leaves for the day. It seriously makes a huge difference - a couple days of me lying in and we're screwed.

Angie said...

I feel for you. My house is pretty messy in some places now, too. :(

Jessica said...

Ahhh, I remember those days - of course, the kind of destruction that occurs in my house now is in the form of a 17 year old. He's still a "tornado" but now, I can make him pick up after himself.

Anonymous said...

Sounds like you need some much needed "ME" time. And yes, "ME" time sometimes includes doing all of those things you want to do around the house that you can't possibly do keeping up with an active toddler. Have you thought of sending Gabe to a Mother's Day Out program once or twice a week? Even once is a huge break. I'm a huge proponent of help and all of my girls have gone to Mother's Day Out programs and I'm convinced it's the only way I've managed to maintain some semblance of sanity all of these years. Even the promise of Mother's Day Out Day(s) is enough to pull you out of that Momma Funk. I speak from experience.

ccw said...

This sounds so very familiar.

I only ask that the living room and kitchen/dining room be clean so that if someone showed up announced I wouldn't be embarrassed to let them in. This doesn't sound like much given that there are 7 other rooms to destroy but somehow I can never get ahead.

I swear my baby boy has nine arms.

twoxthefun said...

Yes, yes, yes, that is exactly what happnes at our house.

IT always seems like the house is a mess even after I pick up. My hubby told me it was my time management skills. He was nice enough to help "pick up" about 2 seconds later every thing was scatter. He felt my pain then.

I wish I had the answers too.

OneTiredEma said...

Oh, really, give yourself a break! The is a reason they are so cute when they're chewing on tampons--so you don't call up the circus and sell them on the spot!

There are two reasons why I am dying for a house. One is so that I don't have to tell the kids to stop jumping, stop running, or stop doing the things that kids do (and make noise). But the real reason is because I want a playroom or a finished basement or some place where the toys can live and if they clean up, fine, and if they don't or won't I can close the door. And I will be able to sit on my couch and see my living room floor regardless of the time of day.

I am not a neat freak or organized by any means whatsoever, but SO MUCH clutter ALL THE TIME is trying.

Sometimes during nap time I load the dishwasher, then fold laundry while watching tv. Sometimes I do absolutely nothing. Or drink hot tea. A whole cup. Start to finish.

Be kind to yourself. Some day the preschool fairy will visit you too!

Anonymous said...

Cherish the madness. One day your household will be silent, and neat as a pin. You're little tornado will grow up but don't wish away the dirt, the snot, the diarrhea diapers. Unpleasant as they are those events are your links to the future. And one more piece of advice--you are older, bigger and smarter than he is so learn to say "no" and mean it. Okay, one more piece of advice--when he's older and you are on the phone ask him if the house is on fire, or is somebody bleeding. if he answers no then he doesn't need to interrupt you. Good luck.