1. Tidying up the kitchen. I am anal retentive about having a clean kitchen. I cannot cook, juice or make food if the kitchen is untidy. I want to scream when I see plates, dishes, cups, glasses, and cutlery placed on every available surface. We have a dishwasher. Is it so hard to put the dirty dishes etc. in the dishwasher? I feel like I’m constantly wiping counters and screaming at my teen to pack the dishwasher. I also have a 5-year-old so I freak when I see knives randomly lying on a counter.
2. Replacing toilet paper. We have two bathrooms and they never seem to have toilet paper in them. The empty rolls are in the bathroom dustbin but no one finished the paper when I ask. Do we have bathroom faeries that secretly and invisibly whisk away toilet paper to make double lined curtains for their faerie houses?
3. Trying to sleep late on the weekend. I am a parent. Give it up. The reason I gave up drinking was that toddlers and hangovers do not make happy parents. We lie in bed until Amber comes into our room. She wakes up Dad, who puts on a movie for her. Gets her tea. And a yoghurt. And a banana. Usually not at the same time. She waits a few minutes before asking for the next thing. He’s learnt to get everything in one go. We have a no TV rule in the house in the week so she’s happy to watch two movies while we sleep. That sometimes gets us to 09h00 on a Sunday.
4. Do you need the toilet? Don’t ever ask a child if they need the toilet. The answer is always no. Ask a few more times and they will angrily shout NO. Until they’re literally breakdancing on the furniture and then I have to shout GO TO THE TOILET. NOW. Ok ok and off she goes. I keep asking, she keeps saying no.
5. Keeping the house clean in December. My housekeeper goes on leave from mid-December to mid-January. It starts off well with a neat, tidy, orderly house with cooked meals, clean clothes and cooked meals in week one. By week four the floors are dirty, I refuse to cook or even go into the kitchen and I do the washing the day before my housekeeper gets back. I throw everything in the tumble-dryer (go to hell Eskom). I become a screaming tyrant for Thing 1 to pack and unpack the dishwasher. Having a shower or getting out of pyjamas is not compulsory.
6. Bathroom towels. Thing 1 thinks she’s a boy. Her and DH leave their bath towels lying on the floor. All the time. How hard is it to hang it up? I’ve tried ignoring them. I get wet socks. I get mad. They still leave the towels on the floor.
7. Shouting at the dinner table. When there’s just DH and me, it’s calm and peaceful. This only happens when one of us gets home late and hasn’t eaten yet. When it’s three of us at the table (usually me, DH and Thing 2) then it’s peaceful and calm and there’s no shouting. When it’s all four of us, there’s chaos. Thing 1 and Thing 2 compete for the highest volume and the most whining. And who can get Mom to yell first. We have a game we play that really works quite well. We call it the “Let’s see who can be the quietest for the longest now GO” game. Whoever speaks first loses, whoever speaks lasts wins. It’s lasted for as long as 8 minutes.
8. Playing in the kitchen. If Thing 2 isn’t literally climbing the kitchen walls or standing on the kitchen counter then she’s hanging on my housekeeper’s legs, running up and down, or nagging me for something to eat. We have an open plan house. Why must she play IN the kitchen? I’m tempted to put down black masking tape and create borders around the kitchen.
9. Medication. Thing 2 has been diagnosed as having chronic paediatric asthma. She swims, does ballet, plays mini tennis, jumps, runs, plays and doesn’t need to keep a pump on her at all times. If she gets sick, she gets horribly sick. So we have five medicines that she gets every morning and evening. Three are prescribed, two are homeopathic. She’s been getting her meds for almost a year now. She knows the story. Yet every day she has one and then runs off to do something else. We have to bring her back. She has another one and runs off. I’ve learnt to block off the entrance to the kitchen and hold her arm or shoulder before she can escape. The only time I need her to stay IN the kitchen and she won’t. Guess who’s not winning at reverse psychology.
10. Bedtime. When is bedtime really bedtime? We used to joke when Thing 2 called for Daddy. I’d say round two, round three, round four. It’s not funny when he’s gone to round seven in an hour. Take meds, brush teeth, go pee, read a bedtime story. How hard can that be and how long can it take? Very hard. An hour. She’s ot difficult but she wants to play and read and tell long stories. Every night I’m hopeful. The nights when I put her into bed on my own when DH is at varsity, are much easier. She seems to put up a bigger show when there’s two of us.