I’m an optimist who chases a toddler around all day. I follow him into the kitchen and while he pulls the potatoes out of the pantry, I wash a dish. I don’t wash every dish because I then follow him into the bedroom where he puts a potato in his dad’s pants drawer and I pick up the laundry.
The laundry is the easy part. My toddler likes to help with laundry. He knows how to get the lint out and takes pride in removing, cleaning and replacing the lint screen. Ahchoo! But when I stop him from throwing the fabric softener sheet into the toilet, it’s time for him to throw a fit. It’s hard to argue with a 16-month-old who doesn’t get the difference between a dryer sheet and toilet paper. Let’s hope he figures it out before he’s responsible for his own wiping.
His new favorite game is to take everything out of cabinets and leave them on the floor or place them in drawers and on shelves he deems appropriate. The house gets reorganized several times a day. Just not in ways you or I would imagine. I try to harness his love for this kind of activity and give him the job of placing grapes in the colander for washing before bagging them up for quick-grab snacks from the fridge.
We’re semi-successful. Some grapes get squished. Some get tossed. Some get licked. The teenager in the house now refuses to eat snacks she hasn’t personally prepared. We’ll call this a bonus.
Snack options are laid out in front of him like a toddler’s Old Country Buffet because you never know what he will eat or reject today. Rejected snacks get dropped to the floor. We call this the “gravity game.” It’s only temporary rejection because stray grapes and Cheerios taste better when found later to be eaten with the added entertainment of Mom grilling him about, “What’s in your mouth?”
I wear a Bluetooth headset for taking phone calls because otherwise I’m down a hand or would require a chiropractor after I hang up. This mom’s world is ruled by text — voice text even. If you want my undivided attention, schedule an appointment and bring your own sitter or call me in 10 years.
Nap time is for meeting writing deadlines. Bath time includes extra playtime so mom can sit on the closed toilet seat and read. Unless he poops in the tub.
Between all of these “have tos” in our day, we walk to the park, read books and tumble around in the pillows on the bed. Things are hard in our world sometimes, but I’m filled to the brim with love. At the end of the day, my house may remain half clean but my life, my heart and my wine glass overflow.
— Bonnie Jean Feldkamp
Bonnie Jean Feldkamp is a writer, wife and mom of three kids whose ages span two decades. Her work has appeared in the The New York Times; Brain, Child Magazine; Scary Mommy and more. Her Cincinnati Family Magazine mom blog earned Best Overall Blog in the 2017 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Awards. Bonnie is also the communications director of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Find her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @WriterBonnie or on her website at WriterBonnie.com.