There I was with peanut butter on my pants, gel medium on my phone, and a permanent slice of very old banana permanently affixed to my linoleum floor. That was the moment I realized my life had become one big, sticky mess. Life with a toddler can be summed up in one word: messy. Maybe two words would be better: super messy. No, it’s three words: Super, Sticky, Messy. There is just no avoiding it no matter how hard you try to.
Sometimes, however, I do like to keep score. For example, it is 1:30pm and so far my daughter has worn three different outfits and I am not even dressed yet. When I do manage to get dressed and out of the door I find jelly hand prints on the back of my pants or marker drawings down the arm of my jacket. Toddler win; motherhood fail.
Her hair is combed and styled in a cute little ponytail and mine…well…mine is a disaster. Speaking of hair, my hairdresser suggested that I blow my hair out and style it once every three days. I should just wake up on the non-styling-days, spritz it with a little water, and go. She obviously does not live with a toddler. Most days I end up with oatmeal, dog water, or some other food related item in my hair. It has to be washed every single day and I usually don’t have time to style it in any flattering way. My daughter, however, is dressed and coiffed beautifully every morning!
My daughter helps me clean up her spills by dragging a paper towel through the puddle on the floor while yelling joyfully, “Messy! Messy! Mess!” Then she usually rolls around in it, walks through it, or tries to eat it. On the other hand, I have washed the floor several times and it still looks like a barrel of monkeys has taken up residence in my kitchen. Two points for team-toddler and zero for team-mommy.
In this game of mommy versus toddler, my daughter is on a winning streak. She is a champion at this game and I will never score enough points to catch up. One thing I have learned from my messy life with a toddler is that banana is stronger than Gorilla glue and Crazy glue combined. It is stuck to my floor and it is not coming off anytime soon. I’m thinking of marketing it as an all-natural, organic alternative to the glues available in stores now. Anyone interested in buying some? It might even come with a free piece of linoleum stuck to it.
Painting, after some success, can quickly become an obsession. It sure has for me!
I recently dove back into using watercolors after about a twelve month love affair with acrylics and collage and now I-just-can’t-stop. I’ve been painting flowers and more flowers. I have created an inside garden complete with flowers that probably wouldn’t even grow in my actual, outside garden. This can be dangerous. The laundry, dishes, and floors have completely been neglected. My email goes unanswered. My family can survive on frozen pizzas and other convenience foods for only so long! I have been bitten by the painting bug and have come down with a severe case of painting fever.
This seems to happen to creative people. We can go days, months, and even years without succumbing to our creative work, but when the passion and obsession strikes we can become very prolific and completely consumed by our creative work. This can be very difficult to reconcile with the demands of a small child and the obligations and responsibilities that come with being a Stay-At-Home-Mom. I cannot hide in my studio or concentrate on what I am doing for long periods of time like I did before my daughter was born. At this stage, she is usually redecorating my studio while I paint or, trying to stick a paintbrush in the dog’s mouth.
Watercolors are terrific for this mode of painting because if the paints dry out while I am wrestling my most-loved paintbrush from the dog’s mouth, I can just add water and be back in business in no time. I often paint while my daughter is napping or has gone to bed for the night. I spend quite a bit of my day lost in thought about what to paint next, which color to use, or if my painting would benefit from some pen and ink details. I can only hope my daughter doesn’t notice my distracted interactions or, even better, I hope she will grow up and find something that she can be just as passionate about.
We planted the seeds for our annual garden and the heirloom tomato and basil seeds have sprouted. We have had limited success with our New Mexico gardening due to various problems. The first year we were living in a very dry, hot part of the state and didn’t provide enough shade or water so our plants did not produce much. That was the year of the $25 tomato. The next year the birds descended on the greenery and munched away at the plants. The following year we covered the garden with netting, but the rabbits found access underneath it. Then there was the year all we could grow was squash, squash and more squash. Last year, after a move, we had beautiful black soil and ideal humidity, but the deer jumped the fence and devoured entire plants, roots and all. We built a taller fence and hopefully this year we will have victory! Keep your fingers crossed, my friends. I am desperate to eat a ripe…anything!
The seedlings have sprouted. Will I keep them alive or will they meet their demise? What kind of gardening mishaps have you had?
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