I am known to be a bit “OCD” when it comes to cleanliness. I have always liked things to be clean and orderly. I knew that my expectations would have to change after I had children because I have been around babies and toddlers my whole life. I know that they generally do not like things to be neat and tidy.
We had baby #1 in 2009 and I was sort of shocked at how much like me she has become. Of course she was a bit messy when she first started eating solids, but nothing crazy or unmanageable. I have the token pictures of her with food all over her face, but most of the time it is ice cream because that is, and always has been, her favorite food (girl after my own heart).
She’s now 3.5 years old and she will yell for help if something happens to spill. She decidedly doesn’t like to be or get dirty, and she WANTS to HELP me CLEAN all the time. God love her.
I was feeling pretty good about all this but I knew when I got pregnant with baby #2 that it wasn’t going to last. I’m just not that lucky.
And right I was. My younger daughter is nearly 14 months old and she is a hot, filthy mess all. the. time. Every time food comes within reach of her, she makes a mess of it. A giant mess. It gets in her hair, all over her high chair, on the table, floor, walls, and so on and so forth. This happens at least three times a day, usually more. I have tried to find snacks for her that are not going to be messy so I can keep my sanity and only clean up a giant mess three times a day, but she somehow manages to thwart my efforts. In fact, today, I gave her some goldfish crackers and went to help her sister on the potty. I thought I was a flipping genius because there was no way she could make a mess with goldfish crackers in under five minutes. I should no better than to ever think mom can “win.”
She performed some crazy acrobatics while I was gone and managed to reach her straw cup filled with water. She dumped most of the water in the cup onto the tray of her high chair and took 3/4 of the way chewed goldfish and spit them into the water. She essentially made goldfish cracker paste on her tray – and a crap ton of it – and used said “paste” to decorate anything and everything she could get her hands on.
This child easily goes through 3 outfits a day, usually more like 4 or 5. She finds a mess where there isn’t one. The other day at the park, she took approximately 30 trips from the water spicket to the sand box with her bucket and created her own personal mud puddle. She then proceeded to sit in said mud puddle with all her clothes on. Everyone else thought it was adorable.
So, is my house now filthy? No, I still can’t get past my need to have everything be clean and picked up, but I have lowered my standards a bit. My older daughter does help me quite a lot and I have somehow convinced my toddler that picking things up and putting them into containers is fun! She’s taught me that getting messy sometimes is not the end of the world and I’m working on teaching her how to be better adept at using utensils at the table!