Aug 18, 2006

Large Houses and Lost Sippy Cups

All of our children now have larger houses than we do. Do I envy them? Oh, no! Both my husband and I think a large house is more of a rock around the neck forcing us to spend more money and time than either of us want to give. In addition, a large house requires a lot more effort to clean. I find my own housecleaning a real chore, and I live with the continuing promise of cleaning tomorrow, because I have more important things to do today.

I've just finished babysitting for one of our youngest grandchildren while her parents camped at a nearby lake with the older children. The toddler was good and I had extra time, even to make some brownies. My daughter wants me not to work excessively when I come, so she had gotten her children to help her clean the large house, and it appeared cleaner than mine.

Why is it that I always look for dirt to clean when I go to my children's houses to babysit? It is clearly an unnatural vice, because I always avoid looking at the dirt in my own house. Is it a problem with my eyesight? Or with my focus? Really, I just want to help my children because their large houses often have a lot of variety in cleaning opportunities. And the reward is greater because I usually get hugs and thank you's when my work is done.

The first thing I did after I arrived was to try to find a clean sippy cup so the toddler would not spill her milk. A sippy cup is made of three parts--the cup, the valve, and the lid through which the baby sucks the drink. The sippy cup drawer was full of misaligned parts, and only one lid fit with any of the clean cups, although a couple of correct valves were available. I decided to find some of the missing parts that I knew must be hidden around the large house.

Unless one counts the wastebasket, the most likely place to find missing toys (my grandchildren's greatest sorrow in life) is under things--under the table, under the sofa, under the bed, etc. From experience, I know the most promising place to look for baby bottles and sippy cups is under beds. As I went from bed to bed, I picked up the skirt and peered into the semi-darkness. I immediately found junk, otherwise known as my grandchildren's treasures. Moreover I found dirt--the most evil substance in the universe. [Sorry, League of Evil Traditionalists, you don't come close to matching the REAL thing.]

Success! I found three pieces of sippy cups under the seven beds. I also found an old baby bottle (which the toddler no longer uses) and a complete sippy cup assembly (yes, the milk was curdled into the solid part and the liquid part).

I'm sure my daughter thought her house looked clean enough that I wouldn't look and I wouldn't clean. Old grannies, at least this one, just can't help themselves.



Dusty, a precious post of a loving and maternal grandmother. I tend not to see dirt in the houses of others unless it is obvious, but I am sure when my children have their own homes, I will be just as you are. It is called instinct. You spent your whole life trying to do the right thing by your kids and cleanliness is the right thing when you have dominion over their domain. Do not feel bad about it. It would be bad if you made a wreck of the house for them to come back to.

I am kind of a clean freak, myself, but the great blessing of children has helped abate this tendency somewhat. I am glad to hear that in other homes milk curdles secretly--only to be found later and that sippy cup drawers are not all in order.

You have much to be happy about in your children. (You don't need me to tell you that.) They have houses and children and love and all else. Just as you always wanted them to have.

God is good.

Curmudgeon said...

Orville's always finding dirt at my house though.

Nothing like finding a 2-week old sippy cup of milk. Especially under a car seat or in one of the mostly-uninsulated closets on the top floor of our house. Those things should only be opened in a laboratory vent hood with the fan sucking at full blast.