Thursday, May 22, 2014

It's Laundry Day! (Everyday)

What else is there really to say about the laundry?


Before I was married I can't say I ever really gave laundry that much thought. 

I would wear clothes, occasionally they would become dirty, and then I would journey to the laundry room and wash them, perhaps while reading a novel of my choosing. 

Could it be that it was all so simple then? 

I mean I guess it could because there was ONE of me and therefore there was ONE set of clothes -- and also I had kind of a lot of free time.

These days there are FIVE of us and I find myself with the unwelcome job of FAMILY WASHERWOMAN.

It is not a role that I relish. Of late it might even be fair to say that it is driving me completely friggin' bonkers. 

Back when there was a spree of post office shootings a theory emerged that postal workers were particularly prone to such violence because of the nature of mail work. The thought was that the sheer relentlessness of the mail made folks go crazy because no matter how hard any given mail person worked, there was always just MORE MAIL to be dealt with.


The laundry is like a hydra. You do a load of whites and six more loads spring up in their place. I had a relative staying with me recently, and she kindly lent a hand with the wash. At some point she emerged from the laundry room and proudly announced, 

"The laundry is finished!"  

I looked at her like a grizzled veteran of a long war and responded, 

"For the sake of my own mental health I've come to accept that the laundry? IT'S NEVER FINISHED." 

I feel like one of my strengths as a parent and a wife is my ability to pretty much keep it together when things are going totally sideways, but this week the laundry has broken me. 

I imagine my children years from now sitting in front of a sympathetic therapist and providing a detailed remembrance of Mommy's screeds, including but not limited to:

"You don't have to unfold all the shirts! Just wear the one from the top of the pile!"

"Get out of the mud!!! I just cleaned those pants!"

and the perennial favorite,

"What is this dress doing in the laundry pile? IT'S NEVER BEEN WORN!!!"

At present absolutely no one is safe from my laundry-based rage. 

I assure you that when my husband saw me across a crowded restaurant in Venice, CA back in 2006 he COULD NOT HAVE IMAGINED that just 8 years later I would be standing over him at 7:30am one morning shrieking,

"How can you possibly be going through this many pairs of boxer shorts? YOU ONLY HAVE ONE BUTT!"

All I can hope at this point is that I am merely on a long and stinky path that will eventually lead to laundry acceptance.

STAGE ONE: DENIAL AND ISOLATION: I am all alone! All alone with piles and piles of filthy clothing.

STAGE TWO: ANGER: [insert laundry-based rage spiral]

STAGE THREE: BARGAINING: Fine. I'll put another load in and then maybe I convince my husband to fold it all and put it away.

STAGE FOUR: DEPRESSION: [cut to me sobbing a top a large pile of undershirts]

But if I'm being honest I'm fairly concerned that I may be stuck on Stage Four, because I'm not gonna lie to you,

STAGE FIVE: ACCEPTANCE: seems a long, long way away right about now. 

Who knows? Maybe it will come to me if I JUST. KEEP. FOLDING...

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Fight Night! (And Day. And Then Night Again)

Oh people, the fighting at my house. It is not to be believed.

When I opted to have three children in short order I had visions of a jolly threesome who might spend long afternoons frolicking merrily about the lawn as I sat, perhaps enjoying a cocktail of my choosing. 

What I failed to imagine was just how many hours I would spend shrieking repeatedly and at ever-increasing volume, 

"I'll get your Hulk back I promise! Just please STOP PUNCHING YOUR SISTER IN THE HEAD!"

Battles break out at our house over which movie to watch. Conflicts flare up over who got a bigger scoop of ice cream. Clashes arise over who gets to be Spiderman and who has to be Iceman when it's time to play superheroes.

This week my children have invented a new game called 


I call it a "game," but in reality it is more of a "terrifying ritual that commences every time the car stops which inevitably leads to bitter recrimination followed by lengthy bouts of crying." 

Our every outing now culminates in an epic battle for dominance of the van door as each of my children rush to unbelt themselves and win the coveted honor of pushing the button that causes the door to slide open. 

Whichever child proves victorious in this mad dash then relishes in taunting his or her siblings for several minutes, basking in the glory of having, you know, OPENED THE DOOR FIRST.
Cut to me, moments later, attempting to calm my offspring as we stand gathered on my front lawn. I work to get the winner to tone down their mocking victory dance before turning my attention to the losers, who stand heartbroken by their terrible loss, hot tears streaming down their faces. 

I calmly explain what I feel is the simple-yet-obvious truth that no one has actually "lost" the game of "WHO GETS TO OPEN THE VAN DOOR?" because, in fact, THERE IS NO SUCH GAME!!!

This proves futile and the sobbing continues.

I finally give up and settle for rushing the children inside where at least their lamentations will not be witnessed by the entire neighborhood.

Once we are safely ensconced in the playroom the inter-sibling strife begins anew:

A train with one wheel? My threesome will roll about the floor engaged in vicious hair pulling to secure dominion over it.

The Buzz Lightyear doll with a missing arm? Look how it suddenly represents the fulfillment of my son's every desire the instant his sister touches it!

Broken peach crayon? Allow my son to prove how much it really is HIS ALONE by attempting to remove his brothers arm using only his teeth!

Feral animals fighting over a carcass in the street could teach these kids a thing or two about decorum.

I try to referee. I pull the hitters and biters into time out. I set limits. I offer alternate peaceful solutions. I lovingly explain that crushing each other inside the sofa cushions is an activity that seems super fun at first, but rarely leads to lasting happiness.

My once cherished dream of mothering closely-spaced siblings has lead to the reality of me sitting in the backyard with that long-imagined cocktail in hand - not watching jolly frolicking, but instead witnessing my threesome violently have at it until I'm eventually forced to get up and intervene.

I reestablish peace, I kiss boo-boos, I force apologies to be made and then I retake my seat only to start the whole process over again moments later.

What can I tell you folks? 

It's war at my house - and at this point - I'm just trying to survive the skirmishes.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

If I Lived Like My Three-Year-Old

  • Instead of making polite conversation with people I didn't feel like talking to, I would simply point at them before shouting "I AM SHY OF YOU!" Then I would cover my face with both of my hands until they went away.

  • I would consider a handful of goldfish crackers and an ice cream cone a sensible dinner.

  • When big decisions were needed I would ask myself, "How would Spiderman handle this?"

  • I would not be scared of spiders or snakes but would be terrified by the appearance of a small spear of broccoli on my dinner plate. 

  • I'd be capable of having a conversation with my sibling for 23 minutes consisting solely of the words "DID NOT" and "DID TOO."

  • If I found a Sharpie, the thought would occur to me, "I should probably draw all over my face with this."

  • A terrible day could change into the BEST. DAY. EVER! just like that if I saw a firetruck.

  • I wouldn't need a gym membership because I would run at every opportunity, preferably while shouting loudly, "Look at me everyone! I'm running!!!"

  • I would never struggle to make friends because whenever I saw someone who seemed interesting, I would only have to run up to them, grab them by the hand, and announce, "WE'RE FRIENDS NOW!"

  • I would rarely have a life crisis that could not be solved through judicious use of tickling.

  • When I was upset I would not smile and pretend that I was OK. Instead I would hurl myself to the floor and shriek and roll around until all around me registered my displeasure.

  • Instead of struggling with self-confidence I would consider myself to be the GREATEST at every activity I attempted -- the FASTEST runner, the FUNNIEST face maker, and the BEST IN THE WORLD at rolling around on the grass in a strange way.

  • I would not worry that my stomach wasn't flat enough. I would celebrate my midsection's roundness by rubbing it regularly and showing it off to friends and neighbors whether they had requested to see it or not.

  • My "special place" would be the toy aisle at Target.

  • I would take falling down a staircase directly onto my face in stride, but I would consider not getting to watch "Elliot Kid" for the 9th time in a day a major tragedy.

  • An immense amount of my personal energy would be devoted to the single thought, "GET. SOME. CANDY."

  • If someone had something I wanted I would declare "I WANT TO SHARE!" and then grab their thing before running away as quickly as possible. 

  • Every night at bedtime I would sit up in bed and announce, "My favorite part of today was EVERY PART OF TODAY!" Then I would jump on my bed like a wild monkey before falling into 10 hours of deep and restful sleep. 

  • Then I would wake up the next day and start it all over again.

If I lived like my three year old…