Curiosity killed the proverbial cat, and in my case, curiosity makes my house look the way it does. Sometimes curiosity makes it smell the way it does. This morning when I smelled a hint of smoke, I thanked God for my nostrils. A child had indeed lit not one, but six matches. They were flushed down the toilet, said a reliable source. Not that this happens a lot, because it doesn’t, but at the same time I can say, “Just another day in the life.” If it’s not matches, it is a great many other things.
The other night as I was about to flip on the lamp beside our bed I noticed that every square inch of it was coated in a thick layer of vaseline. Oh yeah. That one is fun.
Soap on the wall. Marker on the wall. You-name-it on the wall. All things I silently told myself, would never happen in my home when I was a mother. Really? Sharpie on the piano? How could any good mother allow her children to do such a thing?
The reality is, I definitely don’t allow them to do it, they choose to do these things. The other reality is, childish behavior does not reflect our mothering. I can not be in five places at once. So unless I extinguish their freedom to explore, and always keep them within eye-shot, these things will happen. Notice I said “childish things”, because as I am learning, there is a difference between childishness and foolishness. Childishness is often just immature curiosity without common sense. As we mature, we may wonder if sticking a screw-driver into an electrical socket will do anything, but common sense (or experience) will stop us from trying it. Childishness thinks, “I wonder how this color would look on that white wall?” Children are naturally curious, but often their curiosity leads to mess, which we as mothers often translate as: bad, bad, bad. I’m saying this more to myself than anyone else, but mess doesn’t always equal bad behavior. Mess means life, learning, and children abound! That is not a bad thing! They are learning to clean up behind themselves, but not every shoe out-of-place or smudge on the wall means that they are out to get me. Every day I struggle to keep our home from looking like a demolition derby ran its way through each room. I often complain about it. I often compare myself to others who seem much more put together than myself. This takes away the joy of all the life being lived within these walls. So, as I anticipate starting school soon, I know there will be messes galore. I really want my kids to remember, though, that life and living was more important than a perfectly clean house.