Sunday, May 22, 2011

caterpillar livin'

engagement photo with jag

One of our engagement photos, 2002.

Back when Dr. Krog was in graduate school, we lived in a little rural town that we adored. Rent was cheap, the scenery was amazing, groundhogs were plentiful, and we found the most darling little mill house right by a train track that only had a train once a week.

And it was a small, cute train that didn't even rattle the glasses.

It was a very sweet and special time, but every now and then I felt the pinch of a small-town salary. One time, my friend Amy was redecorating her house, and I expressed my envy of her fancy decorator and beautiful new furniture.

"What you're doing is called worm livin'," she told me. "My daddy says everybody has to do it. Everybody has to pay their dues and scrape along, and then one day, you'll get to decorate, too."

Or she said something like that. She always fed me full of good food and wine, so things got a bit muzzy. And then she gave me her old curtains, and they were my first curtains ever, and I felt fancy.

Fast forward to 2007, when we moved into our first real house. We didn't go overboard, but we did a little bit of painting, got a couple of new pieces of furniture-- but not couches, since the kids would just ruin 'em. My mom gifted us a nice bit of money, and we put in pretty ceiling fans and tile in the bathrooms. Things that would last. I put up brand new curtains. And I thought my days of worm livin' were past.

And they were.

Technically.

I recently realized we're in a new stage: Caterpillar livin'.

That's when your kids are young and raucous, and you can't enjoy your pretty things a bit and just have to wait it out until the little monsters become graceful butterflies.

I put up beautiful curtains in my baby boy's room. Recently, he yanked them down and twisted the curtain rod into a pretzel like Superman. Then he pulled out all the slats of his blinds, so I took those down. He lulls himself to sleep through domestic carnage. In the end, each night, I hang a ratty, holey old blanket over his windows, and by morning, he's pulled that down, too.

Could I buy new blinds and a stronger curtain rod? Sure. But he'd just pull 'em down again. So for now, we're caterpillar livin' with a ratty blanket.

The bookshelves are denuded. The downstairs hall is stripped to the sheetrock from a series of progressively larger baby gates. And my beloved sunroom is a constant chaos of toys and bikes and tiny baby socks that surely sprout like mushrooms while we sleep.

My big girl's quite reasonable now, but my boy is trouble. If we clean it up, he pulls it back out. If we put it up, he pulls it back down. He's a two-year-old boy, which is basically a muscley little id hellbent on ducky crackers and destruction. And quite honestly, when my kids are playing happily, I'd rather edit a book than chase them around with a bucket and a dustrag.

I'm so close. So close to having my house back.

Until then, until this marvelous little boy learns that cleanliness is close to not-makin'-your-mama-craziness, my house can be summed up in one phrase.

THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS.

And one day, I'll wake up. And I won't have to wipe anybody's bottom, and I won't have to carry anybody around, and I'll only have to sweep the kitchen once a day. And then I'll probably miss having fuzzy little caterpillar children shrieking with joy as they destroy my house. Because even if I can't have folks over and I can't keep up, I'll remember this time for the rest of my life as one of the sweetest.

7 comments:

Tanya said...

*le sigh* You make permanent ketchup smudges in the bathroom mirror sound romantic.

amulbunny's random thoughts said...

You think the crawling over furniture ends at childhood. Bwahahahahaaaaaaa.
Wait till they are teens and have friends and they decide to see how many people they can cram on a loveseat. The record is 7.
We bought new furniture for our new house yesterday. I am putting the 14 year old lazyboy couch that has had it out on the curb tonight. It's served us well. The aforementioned loveseat is going with the wind too.

Les choses changent plus elles restent les mêmes.

Rachel211 said...

Yup. We have a 4 year old and a 5 month old. Thank god we have laminate floors or we would have to replace the carpet every 6 months. We have those strechy covers for our 1982 couches and they are the best things ever. Someday I'll be able to buy some new furniture that came from this decade! ;)

delilah, the unruly helpmeet said...

Tanya, it's totally a coping mechanism. It make-a me crazy.

EttyOop said...

Your last paragraph made me all sniffly, because it's what I realize when I'm having one of those "Dear lord, I'm going to get in the car and keep on driving" kinda days. As crazy as they drive us and as much as they destroy EVERYTHING... someday we'll look back all nostalgic about these times.

Really.


I mean it.

I hope.

Mandy M Roth said...

My boys are 17, 12 and 10. I just started (this year) to redo my house top to bottom because I was sick of being stuck in that rut. I'd always managed to have a formal living room area. My husband used to joke b/c he and the boys weren't allowed in it. He said I needed those red ropes museums use. Now, slowly, I'm getting the rest of the house done. Feels nice. First time I've wanted to have people over in nearly 18 years.

Kgirl06 said...

We have Venetian blinds in our apartment (why are they always Venetian? WHY? Apartment designers don't have kids...), and my 2-year old has ripped down three of them and chewed on one of the others. I have to keep the blinds up in his room or he'll destroy those. The baby gate is almost a permanent fixture to the kitchen, except when we go to bed, when we move it to the hallway to prevent him from getting up and destroying the living room before we wake up in the morning. Oh, and I have like three pen marks on various parts of my body. I don't know where he keeps finding them. Nice to know I'm not the only creator of a tiny monster.