I’m not a girl who minds a bit of dirt. Dirt is good, right? Dirt is our friend. I’m living in a mad house populated by a tiny army of hairy animals and grubby children (and husbands, although not plural) so if I had a real adversion to dirt I’d have gone completely potty a long time ago. No, dirt I can, and do, live with. It’s MESS that really gets me. MESS that seems to breed like bunnies or expand like popcorn every time I turn my back. Children’s toys, husbands’s man piles, dirty abandoned coffee cups, saucepans, wooden spoons and cake racks that have been pulled out of the kitchen cupboards to play with, husband’s projects (currently a 6ft by 4ft scalextric track taking up all of the conservatory), coats and shoes that have been dropped like leaves in autumn, etc. I pick my way around the house, occasionally standing on particularly sharp piece of Lego or stubbing my toe on an abandoned baby walker. Every morning I tell myself that I’m going to be very brave and laid-back and let the children and my husband play with what they will and not chase them around picking things up like a mad and demented robot on overdrive. It can all go away at bed time I tell myself airily, and, after all, toys are there to be played with. By 8.30, though, after breakfast when Daisy is just off to school and Guy is just off to bed having been up since some truly ungodly hour, I’m on my hands and knees cursing Fisher Price and My Little Pony and wandering why oh why I ever said it was OK for my beloved husband to monopolise my conservatory for his scalextric track. It’s not OK, husband, if you happen to read this blog. I love you but it’s not OK.
When Daisy was a baby, we had no money for lovely, bright, plastic, all singing and dancing toys. I had visions of being very earth-motherish and making toys for her and playing with her for hours. The garden is our playground, I’d announce. The world is her plaything. I think I made one batch of homemade play-doh and a wooden spoon puppet before some kind and well-meaning soul gave us a bag of plastic goodies and off we went, merrily weaving our way towards this point I find myself at, where I’m now ankle deep in plastic hell with a serious case of ‘if I see a toy I must immediately pick it up and put it away’ OCD. This takes up A LOT of my day. A LOT!
We fairly recently moved house from a two-bedroom crisp packet sized house (which was enormous fun with 4 children at the weekends, I can tell you) to a house that, while not grand by any stretch, meets our needs a little better. Do you know, I really, really believed that, with my husband safely tucked away in his man cave in the garden or his study upstairs, I’d never see a man pile again, unless I went out of my way to do so. Furthermore, I naively thought that, since Guy would have his own bedroom and not be sharing with us any more, our bedroom would be a toy and nappy-free haven of marital bliss. Silly me. Still the MESS accumulates every minute of the day, and still I chase around like a demented robot picking up MESS every minute of every day. I’m off now to tidy away the pile of Daisy’s plastic jewellery that I’ve just spotted lurking on the bookshelf. The bookshelf that’s, incidentally, covered in dust. As long as there’s no MESS, though, I can cope. Remember, peeps; dirt good, MESS bad. Got It? Phew.