Archive for the ‘housework’ Category

Waiting, waiting

November 29, 2011

Fainjin and I both have a cough and a sore throat at the moment. So we stayed home sick today, and had a quiet day together.

He played with his Lego, and watched me do the housework.  At one point he looked at me with his head tilted to one side and asked, “Why do you clean the house all the time?” as if he simply couldn’t see the point.  He did agree that it’s nice to have it clean and tidy, though.

By the end of the day, he was ready for some more exciting company.  “Where are Pearl and Babess?” he asked.

“Dad is picking them up and bringing them home,” I answered, and he immediately went to watch at the front window for them.  “Oh, sweetie, they won’t be here for at least 20 minutes!” I warned him.  He said he wanted to watch “just in case”.

A very short time later he came out to see me in the kitchen, a worried look on his face.  “I counted up to twenty…”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Always have a Plan B

November 20, 2011

This afternoon I went out for a couple of hours with a friend.  In the car on the way there to drop me off, I said to the kids, “When you get home, I’d really like you to tidy up the lounge because you’ve put all your blankets and toys in there.  Fainjin and Babess’ room could do with a tidy-up too.  And if you do that and you’re really good, Dad might put a DVD on for you later.”

They digested this for a minute.

Then Fainjin said, “And if we’re naughty we can just watch my imaginary TV!”

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

How Mt Laundry grows

November 15, 2011

Yesterday Fainjin came home from daycare with his face painted like a crocodile (again – this must be the third time in two weeks).  Before dinner, he decided to wash his face.

I couldn’t tell that he had washed it by looking at him.  But then Babess came and snuggled me, and she was covered in tomato sauce… So I went looking for a facecloth to wash the sauce off me, and her.  I knew there were clean facecloths in the bathroom drawer because I had just put them away.

Imagine my suprise to find a sopping wet facecloth in the drawer, on top of the clean, no-longer-dry ones.  Argh! I pulled out the half-dozen wet-to-damp ones, and cleaned up Babess and myself with some of those.  Oh well, they would have needed washing anyway, I suppose.

Then I noticed that the sopping-wet facecloth had a streak of green paint on it. A-ha! The culprit is caught red-handed green-faced.  “Sorry Mum!” crocodile-boy called out.  “Never mind, just remember the drawer is only for clean dry ones next time,” I said as I went to dry my hands.

And saw my handtowel covered in green paint.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

A safe place

October 10, 2011

When we upgraded our kitchen last year, we got a dishwasher.  Callooh, callay!  It has been wonderful.  When we chose it, we were very concerned that it be as childproof as possible.  We chose one with a power-switch that is hidden when the door is closed, so that when the power is off and the door is shut (with kiddie-lock engaged), there’s no way a child can turn the dishwasher on.  They can disrupt the wash cycle by playing with buttons while the thing is running, but we tend to only run it in the evening after they’ve gone to bed, or as we leave for the day in the mornings, so that hasn’t been a problem.

At the weekend, Fainjin had a stick of lip balm that he was carrying around.  He tried to tuck it in his waist-band (he had no pockets), but I told him it would fall out.  “Put it on the kitchen bench,” I told him, “and I’ll find a safe place for it.”  I was washing Babess’ face at the time, so couldn’t take it right at that moment.

He disappeared.  Shortly afterwards, I heard The Dad growl with frustration.  I went into the kitchen to find The Dad rattling the dishwasher door while Fainjin looked on.

“What happened?”

“I wanted to put it in a safe place…” Fainjin explained shamefacedly.  He had put his lip balm inside the dishwasher handle.  Because of the construction of that very small hinged panel, it’s impossible to get the balm out.  The Dad gave up.  I had a go.  I thought I might be able to flick it out if I had a small right-angled tool… I got an Allen key and gave it a try.

Now there’s an Allen key stuck in the dishwasher handle, too.

If we run the dishwasher with the lip balm in the handle, the balm will melt and make a terrible mess.  So we are washing our dishes by hand again until the repairman can come to have a look on Wednesday.  The minimum call-out fee is $85.


© UpsideBackwards 2011.

I’m just surprised it hasn’t happened earlier

August 13, 2011

This morning, just as she was meant to be leaving for music, Pearl called out in distress, “Mum, I haven’t got any socks!”

A quick look in the clean laundry basket revealed no socks for her.  I looked in her room, and sighed.  As usual, there are clothes all over the floor.  Clean, dirty, who knows?  Some are kicked half-under the bed, some are on or in the bed, everything is scrunched up, walked-over, a sort of soft carpet half-over the toys and books also on the floor.

I spotted two striped socks, half inside-out, in the middle of the floor.  “There are yesterday’s socks, you’ll have to wear those,” I told her.

She looked at me in utter horror.  “I can’t wear dirty socks!”

“Well then you need to put them in the laundry pile when you take them off.  And when you get clean ones back, they need to go in your drawer.  Otherwise you run out of clean socks.”  I may have added, “As I have warned you over and over and over again”… hopefully not out loud.

Practically writhing with squeamishness, she reluctantly put them on.  Later in the day, when I reminded her, she found some dirty socks in her room and put them out to be washed.  She claims to have also found a clean pair in there for tomorrow.

Dare I hope a lesson has been learned, even temporarily?  I wonder how long it took me… that 8-yr-old’s-bedroom scene looked eerily familiar.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


April 3, 2011

Yesterday morning, while The Dad and Pearl were at music, the little ones were being very good.  They played nicely, entertained themselves and/or each other, and were very sweet.

At one point, Fainjin came to me and said, “Mummy, our bedroom’s all tidy! I tidied up!”

“Great job!” I said, but something happened and I didn’t go in to see the results of his hard work right then.

It was when I had gathered Babess up to take her for her nap that I discovered the awesomeness:

Awww, no toys on the floor, books on the shelves...

He had also made himself a man-cave in his bed:

Do Not Disturb

But Babess’ bed… well:

So that's where it all went!

It took a bit longer than normal to get her into bed for that nap.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


March 12, 2011

We have a small book problem challenge proliferation in our house.  What can I say?  We love books, we’re a family of readers.  Last time we moved house (when we only had one child!) one of the movers looked at me incredulously and said “What, do you have your own library or something?”

I looked at him equally incredulously.  You mean not everyone has a houseful of books?

The problem is, every time we get a new bookcase, we fill it up.  And we’ve run out of room for new bookcases.  The ones we have are double-shelved.  We did go through a couple of years ago and rationalise our collection.  We still had all the books from before The Dad and I moved in together.  We don’t really need three copies of Polya’s How To Solve It (he had two…), although we might still have two copies of Gödel Escher Bach.  Some trashy novels and out-of-date walking guides made their way to the second-hand bookshop too. But we get given books as gifts, or accumulate them other ways.  And we still visit the public library almost weekly!

I’m afraid our children are picking up our habits.  Or perhaps I’m secretly pleased.  Either way, there are books everywhere.  I have to prise baby books from Pearl’s hands and point out that she really enjoys much bigger books with more words in them now, and the little ones will enjoy her old ones more.  Until yesterday, Fainjin’s and Babess’ books were stored in a laundry basket (overflowing) because all the bookcases were full.  And the laundry basket, along with everything from their room and Pearl’s (except beds and a chest of drawers) was in the lounge while the rooms were re-lined, painted and papered.

Now the rooms are done, and we have an opportunity to put them back in some semblance of order.  I really want to cut down on the amount of “stuff” we have.  There are lots of toys the kids never play with, clothes and shoes they never wear or have outgrown – or worn out – and some plain old junk.

Yesterday I put Pearl’s bookcase in the little kids’ room, and shelved their books.  I put their couch and rocking chair next to it, in the bay window, to make a reading corner.  It looked lovely and inviting and oh-so-tidy, and I took a photo because you can almost guarantee it won’t ever look like this again!

Don't worry, the shelves will quickly fill up with the books off the lounge-room coffee table...

Next step: the bookcase from our room (one of the bookcases from our room) goes in Pearl’s room.  Then… um…  perhaps it’s time to weed out the trashy novels again.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.


March 10, 2011

Pearl’s job sheet is working well for us.  It tends to work better near the end of the week, of course, as she sometimes scrambles to get enough ticks for her reward, but in general things are getting done.

It’s quite nice, actually, to have some extra things done at the end of the week.  Music practice (worth one extra tick) happens without asking, and sometimes she offers to wash windowsills for me.  I have also been known to award an extra tick for getting 100% in a spelling test, or working particularly hard in choir.

Over the last few weeks she has selected a monetary reward, and tomorrow we are going to spend her savings at the bookshop.  She has been eyeing a particular book for a while, and calculating how long it would take to be able to buy it.  I did suggest that she could see whether the book was available in the library, but she says she’d rather own it, so that’s fine.

It’s good to see her enjoying the benefits of taking some responsibility in the household.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

February? Already?

February 1, 2011

School starts tomorrow.  I am almost as disappointed as Pearl is, we have had a great 3 weeks together with our walking and sewing and cafe lunches.  We jogged in the mornings… well, some mornings, anyway.  And we did go for a long walk at least once a week.  She did actually tidy her bedroom, and we did some maths every day (sometimes under protest: “Mum, I can’t believe you actually like maths.  You are so weird!”)  We didn’t get much Latin done, but there’s plenty of time for that.

What else was on our list?  Movies – we saw Tangled, and both enjoyed it.  She has just won tickets to Secretariat, we know nothing about it except that it’s about a race-horse, that’s enough for her and she is happy.  She’s quite good at winning movie tickets – last year it was The Princess and The Frog.  We went to the planetarium, but only once, and she had a ball at “craft camp”, making several gifts for family birthdays coming up.

The house is reasonably clean, and we spent a few afternoons lazing around eating ice-cream and reading the books we brought home from the library in huge quantities.

I think we can call January a success.  Let’s see how tomorrow morning goes…

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

Don’t shoot the messenger

January 30, 2011

Babess is at that great age-and-stage where she both remembers short messages and enjoys carrying them for us.  “Daddy, you wanna coffee?” or “Mummy, here your phone for you”, or “Hey kids, time for morning tea!” – quite handy, really.

Pearl has also discovered the usefulness of this.  I was in the kitchen, the kids  playing in the lounge, and suddenly Babess appeared at my side: “Mummy, can we turn da teebee on?”

“No,” I said, and she beamed.  She scampered back into the lounge and I heard her relay, “Mummy said no” – quite happily.  Pearl spoke to her, then she reappeared beside me.  “What can we do, Mummy?”

“You can help Pearl tidy her room,” I suggested.  Again she beamed, and returned to enthusiastically relay her news.  Funnily enough, it wasn’t received with as much pleasure as it was delivered.

I’m sure this will encourage Pearl to develop better skills in subterfuge and manipulation.

© UpsideBackwards 2011.

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