You knock on my door and you’ll be happy that the door was opened by me and you didn’t have to use the handle that is covered in some sludgy/sticky substance, either by one of my kids who have reached for the handle or by me after clearing up the substance my child has created. You will also be greeted by my 14 month old desperately trying to escape and climb up your leg because he’s pleased to see you.
You enter into my front room and it isn’t what you’d call a ‘show home’ my sofa is the first thing you are greeted by it’s yellow and green, not a bad looking sofa. I wouldn’t say it’s grubby but it’s not particularly clean, you see it’s fabric material, a toddler and fabric have a tendency to create new colours of their own. The sofa was free, something someone was giving away because they didn’t have enough room in their house, this seemed perfect to me, knowing it would get ruined by my children and that it didn’t cost anything leaves me with no guilt. This is also the place we have cuddles and read stories when my boys are getting tired.
The main pieces of furniture that stand out in my front room are a high chair, probably with some remains of the last meal eaten on it, this is also the seat my toddler grows big and strong in. There is also a comfy black chair (you guessed it, my furniture doesn’t match) which has the main purpose of blocking my toddler from getting into to the chest of drawers and the radiator, it may look out of place but it’s sole purpose is to protect my precious children from day to day hazards.
The floor has the odd piece of wet or poo stained clothing, the brown rug that stops my toddler bruising himself so badly when he tries out free running around the house, has bits of fluff and possibly food rubbed into it. Scattered around the room are play things for my children, I say play things because if I said toys it would be misleading I’m not sure a bottle lid, a shoe, a spatula and an empty juice carton count as toys, my son, however, thinks otherwise. This is also the place we have the most joyous times of seeing our son’s first steps and where daddy can make them fly around the room like birdies!
Walking through to my kitchen/dining room you are greeted by a table full of useful crap, yes I said useful-crap. It’s a pile of letters, different shaped batteries and other items that may come in useful one day but will never have an actual place in our house. Over at the sink baby bottles, dishes and cutlery are piled high (they were last done yesterday) in front of the washing machine is a pile of baby clothes that almost hide the machine (also the last load was done yesterday). The fridge is covered in mucky hand prints and the bottom shelves are empty so the food can’t be reached by tiny hands! But what you may notice is the pictures stuck to it with magnets of our eldest son’s stint in neo-natal and our youngest’s first smiles.
The stairs are guarded by gates, if you are anything like me then my toddler probably has a better chance of figuring out the opening mechanism than me especially at 2am when we peek through foggy eyes to make our baby a fresh ‘bot-bot’. On the stairs there may be the odd piece of useful-crap that has been intended to go either upstairs or downstairs when attempting to tidy up as well as the odd piece of clothing thrown downstairs meant for the washing pile, as most days it’s a success to get either of the floors in our house clean (never both, that’s too ambitious).
In our bathroom there are boats and ducks with remaining bubbles on them from bath time and half wet towels on the floor as we have the choice between picking the towels or the babies up after bath time, a screaming 4 month old and 14 month old win that battle every time. You will notice our bathroom is decorated with toothpaste, sensitive baby lotion and baby wipes, the toothpaste is from the constant battle to brush our 14 month old’s teeth twice a day, the lotion is from the difficult task of trying to keep hold of a slippery moisturised baby and the wipes are partially from cleaning the boys and partially from cleaning the bathroom (if your a mum, you’ve done it! Boy do those things come in handy!)
Our spare room, which should be our boys bedroom doesn’t have a carpet, well…that’s a lie, it does, but you can’t see it, I can’t remember what it looks like. Remember the useful-crap table? Well you guessed it, this is the useful-crap room! This room is filled with clothes, yes we have wardrobes and shelves but who has time to fold? Even when I do, at 4am when your baby has wet through their clothing you don’t carefully pick through the neatly folded baby grows, you grab the nearest thing that fits them! So most of the time you don’t see this room, it is usually a rule that the door stays shut, what the eye doesn’t see…
Our bedroom, our lovely bedroom where the four of us sleep. Michael (4 months old) has his moses basket at the foot of our bed this is surrounded by fresh and used nappies (yes cleaned several times a day but babies wee & poop way more than that) cuddly toys and rattles scattered around to make him smile, that if you don’t step carefully will let out an orchestra of lullabies that (we like to think) help our boy sleep. Next to our bed Jack (14 months old) has his cot this is surrounded by bottles we may find wedged in places we didn’t know existed and blankets and dummies that he also likes to hide. Our bed, you guessed it, the covers are not straightly pressed , they are left unmade from where we rushed to see to our babies or to get them quickly bathed when they are covered head to toe in poop. It may be messy but above all this, this is where our most beautiful memories are made ,singing our boys to sleep, cradling them when they’re poorly, having ‘family cuddles’ in the morning and during rare moments listening to both of our boys snore.
Well that’s it you’ve had the tour of our home, if you are a perfectionist it may be your idea of hell. Don’t get me wrong sometimes I think how lovely it would be to walk around a pristine home that smells of bleach and lillies, but then I see my boys in each room of our home, I feel the twang of love in my heart as they turn and smile at me whilst dribbling milk on the floor, I see them giggle with joy as they scatter their toys, I sit back and watch Jack wander safely around our child proofed home and I feel proud whilst I’m playing with them, feeding them, changing their bottoms and cuddling them, making memories with them instead of stressing about having a tidy home.
When they grow up and look back on their childhood I feel comfort knowing they won’t remember the state of the house but they will remember the time I spent with them.