In which cleaning and scrubbing can wait

By Sarah

On that afternoon, I was going to be productive.

You know those days….eight times more on your “to-do” list than you could possibly accomplish even if you didn’t have two tinies, one of whom is potty training and the other, just 11 days old. But, full of good intentions and a little self-delusion, you decide to embark on it anyway. Or at least, I did.

I pulled out the vacuum. I poured water into my bucket to scrub my kitchen floor. I had my eye on the bookshelves, covered as they were in dust an inch thick. And a vague hope of maybe getting to the washroom before the night was over. And then there were the thank-you cards and the filing cabinet to organise and the laundry to fold, the dishwasher to empty, supper to cook.

“Game on,” said my tinies to each other. “Game on.”

The smallest tiny decided that now was as good a time as any for a nursing marathon. So he latched onto me, non-stop, for about 5 hours. He refused to go to sleep even though he was exhausted. He didn’t want the sling. He didn’t want to be laid down. He wouldn’t tolerate being in the bassinette. No, Mumma. It’s the boob or nothing. And he shrieked until it was so.

And the bigger tiny was pulling crackers out the cupboard because she thought her Mummy was hungry. She took her clothes off because she wanted to “dance naykid”. She made soap bubbles in the bathroom sink and then decorated the mirror with them because they are so “pwetty.” And then tripped over the toy piano in the middle of the floor and burst into tears because of the “wowie.”

Balance, balance. Tightrope, tightrope. Careful….steady now!

So then the tiniest one was settled in his bassinette, tummy full, happily filling his diaper and off in dreamland – FINALLY. I have a moment. What to do? Finish the chores or…

Two favourite stories, Goodnight Moon and Two Little Gardeners, were read out loud to the girl and her Pooh bear. She was snuggled and kissed and tucked in for sleep. I left her in the middle of her blankets and we blew kisses to each other all the way out of the door.

Then I collapsed in the living room and surveyed the damage. Toys strewn everywhere. A kitchen that is messier than it was even beforehand. A half-vacuumed floor. A splitting headache and a sore back. Nothing accomplished. If anything, more to do.

You know, in my mother’s bedroom was an embroidered picture, a verse from the poem, “Song for a Fifth Child” by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton, that read:

Cleaning and scrubbing can wait til tomorrow

For babies grow up, we’ve learned to our sorrow.

So quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep

I’m rocking my baby for babies don’t keep.

So I picked up my wee laddie, already losing that freshie-look, and now we’re rocking in our rocking chair, his head against my neck, our heartbeats against each other, my mouth buried into his neck, just to breathe him in, to smell him when he’s 11 days old. I decided to worry about the apartment tomorrow. Or the next day.

Sarah blogs at Emerging Mummy.

15 Responses to In which cleaning and scrubbing can wait
  1. Carrie
    July 30, 2010 | 9:39 pm

    What a beautiful post! This is my feeling today, too! Earlier today, I was working on writing a condensed child-size version of 1 Corinthians 13 to study with my son during his preschool this fall, and it this thought came to me: If I finish my whole to-do list, and my house looks amazingly clean, but am not loving to my children in the process, I accomplish nothing. I also love the quote that you shared! Thank you for this beautiful post!!! 🙂

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