Wednesday, March 27, 2013
Letting my child decorate
Still, I tried to make sure toys were always off the living room area rug and stayed in his playroom or bedroom, where I could shut the door and pretend the mess didn't exist. I would be running after him a dozen times a day picking up random cutlery from the dishwasher and toy cars while tripping over bath toys that had somehow migrated to my kitchen, adding a face print to the wall that already had hand prints all over it. I never purported to be an excellent housekeeper, but this was ridiculous; we tried to make this home comfortable with dried flowers and matching curtains, but rattles and trains didn't match my Pinterest-perfect idea of what my house should look like!
Then I began to look around. I had decorated with framed paintings and leather couches. I had overlooked my own dishes in the sink because they were forgivable; after all, I have a toddler! If my floor wasn't swept, well, at least put the broom out in the corner to make it look like I'd made an effort. My counters showcase bins of pasta and granola and small appliances, and my husband's text books lie neatly stacked next to the couch. Everywhere, I've allowed evidence of myself and my husband to occupy the space in my home. I can even overlook the pile of folded laundry in the basket, as long as it's contained. Even a dog toy seems somewhat acceptable! But if I see a stuffed toy sitting on the couch, a fork placed on top of the chess set, or a sippy in the corner of my kitchen, I find myself irate.
"How can I never get ahead?" I shriek.
Likely because my idea of decorating is on glossy magazine covers where no one lives. I have yet to see a small child walk out of the pages of HomeSense asking, "Mommy, read dat?"
My son's idea of decorating consists of a half-eaten cheesestring on the kitchen chair so when in 10 minutes he wants more, he can reach it and still keep it away from the dog. His idea of decorating is six books on the floor so Mom knows which one he wants to read next. He believes the best form of art is the picture he drew with applesauce on his high chair tray.
His idea of decorating is not very clean, so it needs to be temporary... but perhaps not so temporary that I need to erase every iota of evidence that he lives here, too. Maybe I can leave the chess piece in the fridge, the crayons on the piano bench, and the two toys on the carpet - just as I've left my dishes in the sink - for just an afternoon so he can play outside and have me watch him jump on the sandbox cover and chase the dog. There is something to be said for cleanliness, but a red toybox beside my leather couch is not going to hurt anything except my sense of style... which apparently needs a minor adjustment. And if someone sees that evidence, I may have to accept that a package of wipes on the table is just as acceptable as a few plates in the sink.