moths, rust, and three year olds

Parenthood is so consuming. We scour books, searching for some sort of direction and instruction; we probe friends and family, discussing disappointments and achievements alike, gleaning any sort of feedback possible; but most of all, we just want ways to improve, well — me, us, them — our family.  I say this not in the saintly, I’m-the-best-mom type of way, but in the my-kids-have-fully-furnished-rooms-designed-for-creative-expression-play-and-thought-while-my-own-looks-like-a-glorified-dorm-room-with-plastic-dresser-drawers type of way. Seriously. Hence I say “consuming.” The bubble popped a few weeks ago after I put a new lamp in the boys’ room for better reading light, yet later that night I found myself reading in bed by the light shed from my closet. What the? I promptly removed the lamp to my room (much to Liam’s dissatisfaction) and bought new pillows to fill the bright white bedding that Mark and I had bought months ago. Perfect. In two very small steps, I had drastically improved the quality of my own and Mark’s life (and I suppose my kids by some sort of approximation).

You can now imagine the deflation to my new found enthusiasm when I noticed Blythe sauntering out of my new sanctuary last week shirtless and painted in red stripes like some heroic woman-warrior — only, “hero” was not the word in my mind at the time. I ran to my room to find a bloody-looking sacrifice of four lipsticks, two mascaras, one blush, one eyeliner, and one emptied bottle of loose shimmer powder sprawled out and rubbed into my bathroom rug. But the rug was not a large enough canvas. Blythe painted the cabinets and floors and walls and blinds, and since she had used her hands for all of this mashing and painting and destroying, she needed the white duvet cover on my bed to clean and rid herself of evidence. Humph.

I wish I could tell you that I laughed or calmly reprimanded my daughter, immediately recognizing the transient nature of “my stuff” — but I didn’t. I. was. angry. So angry in fact that Blythe sat in time out, oh, for maybe 15-20 minutes until Mark returned home from work. I just love “my stuff” too much; only, I suppose, moths and rust would have taken too long to reveal this secret (or not so) love in my heart. Sigh.  Mark and I were able to get all the reddish, pink smears and handprints out of the white duvet: liquid dish soap. I’m so grateful — for the soap and the daughter alike (lest I not clarify).