Toddler Chaos Clean-up

I’ve swept up the Art Room. This room is my writing room and has also become my son’s chaos room. He paints here, plays here, and learns here. It is a womb of flashcards, water color trays, brushes, paper, stuffed animals, clothes,  crayons, play kitchen items, toy trains, race cars, and other toddler toys. There has been plenty of times when I had to use power washing dublin to clean my carpets full of paint and dirt from the backyard. Carpets shouldn’t stay damp for too long. Carpets and rugs are lovely, comfy and comfy . Used and maintained correctly, they’re ready to last several years, and become an origin of wonderful pride and happiness. But when not taken care of, unattractive damage could cause numerous problems. The key to any carpet treatment — vacuum-cleaning — must be consistent and complete. Some research has shown an honest vacuum-cleaning can eliminate up to 80% of soil inside a textured plush carpeting. supported use and placement, carpets must be cleaned by professionals carpet cleaning Ann Arbor annually , and spot cleaned as required within the meantime. Drymaster Carpet Cleaning has been operating in the Newcastle since 1990 and has the experience, equipment and procedures to service your premises.There are many varied methods of steam cleaning your carpets. The most common form of steam cleaning is a 1 stage process, where a cleaner will bring to your home a portable machine, similar to the machine that you can rent from the local supermarket or hardware store. This steam cleaning machine is filled with water and detergent and your carpet is cleaned without any pre spray or agitation. This method cleans your carpet without a rinse process and unfortunately leaves detergent residue in your carpet which will promote rapid re soiling. This steam cleaning method is over 20 years old and is not the preferred method by most carpet cleaners today, but unfortunately is still being used by a lot of budget type cleaning companies. Carpet cleaning experts in Newcastle also offers our customers the carpet Dry Cleaning method. Carpets are indeed one of the most important things that we can find in our homes. These can make or break the look the whole room. This is why most people always make it a point to have carpets in their homes so that their homes will look as elegant and as nice as they should be. This is true only under one condition. carpet cleaning usually look their best especially when they are still clean and new. A newly bought or installed carpet would always pull the look of the simplest room there is. Most carpet owners do make it a point to maintain the cleanliness of their carpets. We all know how carpets attract dirt so much. Even if we try to take care and keep our carpets clean, there will always be a stain that will begin to pop out of it. Once a carpet looks very dirty, this can now destroy the look of the whole room. This can now leave the room very untidy and not well cleaned. This is the primary reason why you should always maintain the cleanliness of your carpets all the time. Whether you do this on your own or you hire carpet removal service to do so, you need to make sure that your carpets look as new as they should. One equipment that has really made carpet cleaning such an easier but effective cleaning job is a vacuum cleaner. These are tools or equipment which are used to suck out dirt which are trapped within the fibers of the carpet. This is very effective when you want to remove the solid particles, allergens and the dust which have stayed in the carpet. Although cleaning the carpet thoroughly, removing the stains do need extensive cleaning procedures in order to remove them in the best way possible.

Ten minutes before I swept, it looked like a bomb of paper based material exploded. Add crayons, spoons, plastic play food, children’s books, stickers, paper, paint, M & M’s, and one toddler. Chaos.

My son painting in the Art Room. You can see the toddler debris on the floor.

The pile I’m looking at could be swept into a dustpan quickly. And then it would be gone.

But I have to sort out the debris. What is recyclable — at least the paper and plastic.

I’m tempted though to do one clean sweep then I could attempt to floor mop the wood floors. This is my favorite room in the house. It has twelve foot ceilings and pine wood floors with amazing detail that I got thanks to the work of the professional from Epoxy Flooring Bellevue. It has a south facing window which centers the room — one large window nine feet high by three feet. Visit website for more details about DIAMOND COATING EPOXY FLOORING OTTAWA.

A rare treat this past Saturday — a snowstorm with big chunky snowflakes. You can see the window to my art room in this photo.

This room is never organized completely, only at best, neatened up. My husband has recently installed a shelf system in the closet to organize my on-going writing and art projects. Confession: I am a pack rat and have kept every paper based memory and scrap of paper.  I have all my art projects from elementary school (thanks to my mom).  I have the first note a boy gave me in sixth grade asking me out. Check yes, no, maybe.

I have kept every letter and card I received as an enthusiastic pen pal writer in the 80’s, including letters from my pen pal from Japan and Costa Rica.

Check out that postmark — 1987, complete with a bubble gum scratch & sniff sticker
Pen pal letter from Japan

 ***

My feet stick to the wood floor.  Invisible toddler tape perhaps. As Ben calls it, sticky gooey. Everyone is asleep as I pull it together to do the impossible — clean this room. My goal is to see the floor. I start with baby steps picking up loose paper. I recycle what I can. I take a deep breath and recycle the toddler art I don’t want to keep. Should I keep them all? For Pete’s sake — I have over ninety-nine. Throw them out.  He will paint more. Trust.

My son’s art gallery in the Art Room

I pick up the books my son loves to dump from the toddler height bookshelf. The rest is a blur. A complicated system in my head of mathematical and analytic order takes over. I put things where I think they may belong. Piles. Lots of piles. They are off the floor for now.

What remains is still covering the floor: a pool of colored collage.

A blue plastic spoon with three vertical grooves lays angled across a scribbled toddler art paper. A crumbled napkin dyed with faded water color paints rests on top. A fluorescent pink index card with pen and ink scribbles hangs to the far right of the pile. The outfielder of the pile — catching loose grounders — about an inch away is a brown dog bone sticker the length of a penny.

A receipt for a failed fertility treatment from August 8, 2008 sits on top of the crayon stew. $244 reminding me of our desperation to be with child. Forever ago.

How did Ben find this bill? I know — he opened the file cabinet. The poor thing is shoulder height to Ben — completely accessible to his exploratory curiosity. (Yes, file cabinets have feelings; they like order — toddlers must make them nervous).

A black teaspoon lays across another fluorescent pink index card.  A cardboard white cake mix box next to an empty ink cartridge. Crayons: thick canary yellow, yellow green, navy blue  — all visible. Too much. I’m overwhelmed.  I’m just going to sort out the paper, crusted in sticky toddler chaos boogers — subtract from the pile.

A black sock bundled. A page from Ben’s favorite book, Wacky Wednesday torn out. I can’t throw this away; it’s the eleven wild wacky things park scene. Ben loves to point them out. The page with the purple limo with the old lady in purple, pushing the yellow buggy on top of the limo.

A wild eyed yellow giraffe sticks his head out of a pothole.

Wacky Wednesday book

The pile is lessened: progress.

A copper penny: head’s up, 2002.

A crayon crumb collage, fit for 80’s wax paper iron art projects, on the back of a glossy 8 x 10. I scoop it up and use it as a dustpan, moved enough by the bright colors to take a photo. Too lazy to find my camera, I toss the debris in the garbage.

Flipping the photo over, I see my fourth grade class from 2008. I was so hungry to be a mom in that photo: infertile. I put the photo on top of the printer paper atop my scanner.

The pile still there on the floor.

Next, fetch the plastic Ziploc bag for the crayons: thick purple broken tip still sharp; navy blue — the triangle grip; a plastic crinkle cut French fry (I hate these tiny outliers too tiny for toy bins). I’ve been throwing them away one by one, even though they fit neatly into the red McDonald’s fry holder, which I hate and soon it will get the cut. I’ll recycle it though.

The plastic corn ear goes into the keep pile. Place white play cake mix with it. My son thinks he is Chef Ramsey. All play kitchen items are keepers.

My therapist’s card (currently going to grief therapy) — I need to call her and make an appointment. This goes on top of my desk.

Blue M & M — throw it away. Maybe eat it.

A scribbled passage for a book I am working on — into the closet.

Yellow green, verde Amarillo, verte-jaune goes into the bag. An orange colored pencil soon behind it.

Turquoise thick Sharpie — no cap, dry as the desert.

Recycle?

Red crayon, red colored pencil. Cheap Rose Art red crayon, orange stub, green stub, thick blue, thin black, thick brown, thick blue — the other half. Royal blue plastic spoon — pile with black teaspoon.

More crayons: purple, navy blue, thick orange, thick red — sticky vegetable potato chip crumbs rolled around it like a Yule log.

Joan Miro eraser

Joan Miro 97 eraser from the Denver Art Museum — bought single, bought solo — a lifetime ago.

A persuasive journal prompt, a rogue teaching resource unearthed and liberated by my son from it’s tidy box.

Art Blast washable water colors packaging — not a good idea unsupervised. At least I can recycle the packaging: cardboard.

My son, Ben painting his masterpieces

Another persuasive writing prompt card.

I think a piece of dried poop was on the white index card.

A pastel purple index card.

I smell poop. Affirmative on the poop crumb.

Wow, I keep everything (not the poop); I should have just swept all this stuff up.

A brown twig.

My friend’s self-published poetry book makes the cut, only because it is inscribed and has “Congrats on the baby” on the inside cover — a reminder of graduate school and my miracle pregnancy.

I’m tired and sleepy. The rest of the pile is going into the dustpan, which actually is just non-recyclable garbage.

I walk by the window, curtains open and turn off the light sneaking a peek at the beauty of this room — the chaos of this room and marvel at the chaos tidied up (for now).

Stained glass fleur de lis my husband made sitting in Art Room window

What are the things you hold onto and what are the things you throw away? How do you keep your child’s playroom tidy?

 


 

 
 
 
 

Miscarriage – The Silent Empty Box

To be filled with life is something.  To be pregnant with a growing little miracle of science and nature in your belly is beautiful.  To lose a pregnancy is sad.  The feeling is surrounded with so many emotions.  Guilt, loss, nothing, emptiness, aching, breaking, bending into shadows dark.  I had to take a break today and submerge myself in some creative work.  I wanted to shake this feeling of empty.  Shake it loose from the empty box it resides in now.  Like a box with nothing inside.  Just invisible strings connecting back to my heart.  I don’t know how to put it in words so I am not going to worry about using dazzling adverbs or catchy phrases, but they may just happen to come out that way.  I just want to write a post about it.

There are so many women out there feeling this same feeling today, yesterday, tomorrow.  It covers me like a vine nobody can see.  Much like a bean pole vine grasping to anything its tendril can reach.

Photo by memomuse – “Bean Pole Vines in My Garden”

Something sturdy, mounted in dirt, standing upright.  This vine of sadness can’t grasp onto nothing.  So I grasp and curl around words.  Around people I trust.  Around acknowledgement that it happened. That’s its over. That I need to grieve.

As my mind curls and bends in thoughts of what may have been, what was just yesterday, before the bleeding started, before the sadness erupted.  Before yesterday, I was cocooning into a ball of beauty, growing inside, feelings of joy and elation surrounded me.  Flowers and fruits of joy rippled in the sun.

“Layers of Light” – Photo by memomuse Layers of light echoed over me, through me, around me, spinning into thick spidery webs.  Now there is nothing.  Just this box of invisible sadness nobody can see with the naked eye.

Long story short – I went to visit my dying mother in Colorado three weeks ago.  The night before I left, my husband and I made love.  I went home to Wyoming and Colorado where I feel the most alive and vibrant, for it is home and my place on this earth.  I have been transplanted to North Carolina and I am trying to make the most of it.  But back home, where I come from, just as the Kenny Chesney song sings, I love it there.  On this journey where I thought I was going to say goodbye to my mother, I was surrounded by a land that knows me.  That I know.  That I love.  This journey home, this journey to say goodbye, something magical happened.  We conceived a baby.  A miracle.  A seed that sprouted into life.  I found out last week I was pregnant.  I took three home pregnancy tests and was more surprised with each positive test, as I have struggled with infertility in the past.  My son is just thirteen months old.  We were not actively trying to get pregnant.  So it was a surprise to find out we were pregnant without even a blink of the eye, without a blink of the heart.

I took a home pregnancy test on Monday, then Wednesday, and then Saturday.  All positive.  The faint blue line got thicker with each test.  I took a urine test at the doctor on Monday and they told me to come back in a week because it was, not without a doubt, positive, but there was a shadow line.  So I took two more home tests that week, Wednesday and Saturday.  And sure enough, positive.  I started to feel the pregnancy symptoms, fatigue and drop to the floor tired.

I went in to take another urine test at the doctor yesterday,  feeling it wasn’t needed, feeling pregnant, feeling sure a life was growing and thriving inside me.  I didn’t need a doctor or lab technician to tell me I was pregnant.  Something bigger happened – a life bloomed from my journey to say goodbye to my mother.  How serendipitous.  How miraculous.  How joyous. It made the fact that my mother is dying a soft sleeve to rest on.  To rejoice on.  I was sure this baby was a girl and I was going to name her Eleanor Elizabeth and call her Ellie Elizabeth.

My mom, Elizabeth, and me as a baby

Elizabeth, named after my mother. I had visions of her soft curls, her big blue eyes, her big heart.

When I took the test at the doctor just yesterday, I noticed some blood.  Frightened, I told the nurse.  Then the results from the lab technician came in.  The test was negative.   I fumbled with my paperwork to hand to the check out clerk at the doctors.  She gave me a silent nod and a sweet abbreviation of sugar, “You’re all set, Sug.”   I wanted so badly to walk out the back door, nobody to see my sadness or my tears, as they began to gush. I walked past all the ripe bellies, round and plump with life.

Sometimes I wish there was a sign women going through the grief of miscarriage could wear on their back.  “Please treat with kindness – grieving heart – may slumber slowly today and tomorrow and certainly the day after next.”  But it is invisible.  Our eyes are swollen, sad, and watered with tears only time can heal.  There is no clock for this time passage.  It is not an hour, a week, a month, or a year.  It is a hole in our heart.  We go on.  And on. And hopefully you can give a hug to someone in need.  Perhaps, you just don’t know.  And what do you say? There are no words.  Just invisible tendrils trying to clutch at something strong, sturdy.  For it may be the hope of another chance at conceiving.

My toddler in my arms
Perhaps it is the smile from a toddler in your arms.  Perhaps it is the earthy soil in your hands as you plant a memorial garden.  Perhaps, the box is still empty when you shake it, although you are sure something is inside.  Something thick. Something heavy.  Because something like a life just doesn’t vanish when you bleed.

* This essay was written four months ago.

Totin’

A story about standing in line at CVS, baby fingertip kisses, stranger germ phobia, infertility, and magic you can share with a stranger.

Totin’

I was just at CVS and an older man was behind me in line.  I stopped to get some chocolate, specifically, Bliss chocolate Easter eggs. 

“Do you want to go ahead of me?” I asked.                  

“No, I’m in no huree.  I ain’t been in no hurree since I retired,” he purred out in a deep Southern drawl.

“Oh, alright. It’s nice not to be to be in a hurry,” I said back to him with a soft smile, warmed by the thought, I, too, am not in a hurry and have not been since I decided to stay home with Ben.

“Sure is. I just feel real old, since I turned 80.”

“Well, turning 80 is quite a something to be proud of, Sir.”

“I turned 81 last year, in fact.”

“If it makes ya feel any better, I feel old ever since I had a baby.”

I studied his red wrists and purple lined palms.  His old age reminded me of my father, long gone, up on the roof of Heaven.

“Hello there little guy,” he chuckled, as he grinned and held out his finger.  I tried not to cringe thinking of other mom friends who wear plastic circle signs on their purses that say, “Are your hands clean?” and ‘Love, Not Germs.”  I could see the dirt under his yellowed finger nails, dewed with time and wrinkles, invisible like earthquakes holding decades of history.  Those fingers are alright, I thought. I’ll let Ben decide if he wants to touch him.  Ben smiled some more, showing all eight teeth and reached out with his ET pointer finger and fingertip kissed the old man’s yellowed, storied, wrinkled, finger.

It was kind of magical — in the moment’s lack of worry and judgment.  Old and new, youth and wisdom, fresh unwrinkled skin and leathered, layered skin.
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