Rattled: Moving from couples life to kid on a tear
A while back I wrote about moving to Wilmington Island and how fantastic it was going to be. But when we walked through this house with the real estate agent, it had been vacant and newly painted.
Elliot and the six-pack of cats didnâ€™t live there, so of course I fell in love with it. Heck, we didnâ€™t live there yet, so there wasnâ€™t junk mail on the counters. There werenâ€™t recyclables piled up and random clutter under foot. Cabinets and drawers werenâ€™t left open, and all the light bulbs worked. A stranger with a sandwich board wanders through our kitchen now. His sign reads: Repent. The end is nigh, but â€” just so you know â€” your son has taken a Sharpie to the bedroom wall. Karma. I drew a house on my bedroom wall.
There was a time when we lived in Ardsley Park, pre-Elliot, during the days of Camelot, when we afforded ourselves a professional house cleaning every two weeks. There was a different sort of threesome in our bungalow back then. There was my husband and I, plus the perennial lover that was our spotless black and white ceramic tile floor. It would just be waiting for us when we arrived home from work, and we had been wanting it for so long. Seconds later weâ€™d blame each other for making it leave. Those are your footprints! Oh yeah, well who decided to get out the grated cheese and clean out the coffee grinder? But it came back. It came back.
Not now. When weâ€™re able to get our child to sit still for a movie or his favorite television show, we sit too. We just want to relax, not scrub. Not vacuum. Gosh, and I used to have such a good relationship with my crevice tool.
I think I have a plan that will save the day. Paying a maid on a continuous basis costs way too much, so why not make a few modifications once?
By purchasing uncomfortable furniture, we wonâ€™t want to sit for so long. Our current cat-scratch chic will be tossed in favor of some Mid-Century Modern. The obese leather chair, still the same weight and size as when it was an imitation heifer, will be exchanged for a Reaves Walnut Effect accent chair. Itâ€™s like those hard wood chairs in a high school auditorium, a lullaby for your tush. When the pins and needles start, you are up and
ready to tackle the next quality moment with your child. Our sofa with two recliners built in will be replaced with a Nelson Marshmallow sofa. The thing looks like the tops of a bunch of bar stools hooked together. It inspires good posture, and that I canâ€™t abide. Itâ€™s an investment piece, but it inspires you to get up and go make some sâ€™mores. It says, â€śWouldnâ€™t you rather swat gnats in the backyard while kicking a Buzz Lightyear ball around?â€ť
By nature, Elliotâ€™s dad and I are sedentary people. We find a marathon on television and stick with it. We are the people who wrote to HBO and said, â€śWhy not put the whole season on DVD?â€ť We needed to know whether Carrie would end up with Big and what crazy-making stuff would happen on â€śSix Feet Under.â€ť
Now, we have a kid who wants to be, sigh, moving all the time. He finds markers and pens we never knew we had. He bangs toy jeeps on the walls, and throws stuff like he just saw a bad call at a Braves game. Oh, and the â€śwhatâ€™s that in your mouthâ€ť phase has returned. Only now, he has this devilish look in his eyes, one that says dare me not to eat this tinker toy!
I keep thinking of the old house right before we sold it. You could smell the Pledge on all the wooden surfaces. You could get high from the artificial flower scent coming from devices placed in the electrical outlets.
Before I go to sleep at night, I close my eyes and walk through a house that doesnâ€™t look like that anymore. I talk to the friendly spirits that lived there. I lay down on the hardwood floor in the living room and remember the art on the walls and the warm glow of the fireplace. When I wake up, I remind myself that our house will not have to contend with an almost-3-year-old forever. Everybody is healthy, and thereâ€™s a fresh pot of coffee.
Christine Lucas writes about being a first-time mom and adventures with baby. Contact Christine at firstname.lastname@example.org.