This is only my second blog post, but right after the first one, I started obsessing over what my next topic would be, wondering if anything good would happen (be careful what you wish for!). I also started analyzing everything I was doing, which then made me wonder “Does blogging make one a better parent?” Many times, situations would arise and I would think about putting the story in a blog post, so of course, I planned to have the perfect parenting response so I could be proud of what I had to share with whoever was reading.
For example, yesterday, I left the room for maybe 3 minutes (mistake number 1) to take an important call (mistake number 2), my children were painting (mistake number 3). When I returned to the room, they had made a mixture of paints and apparently had decided to become warriors. Did I mention they were naked? With paint? They change their skin colors and the tint of the hard wood floors. Their bodies were COVERED head to toe in paint. The wood floor was covered in paint, the craft table was covered in paint. At this point, I knew this would make it into the blog. How was I going to respond?
I think I could have handled one child in this situation, but two children? I stood paralyzed and frozen. Usually I am pretty quick on my feet to figure out how to solve a problem, how to clean up a mess. This time I really had no clue. I did not yell. Honestly, though, I don’t remember what I said. Something like “Whoa, whoa, whoa, what’s going on?!?!” I asked them to pause so we could make a new plan. I told them we needed to clean this up and that we might be ruining the floors. I needed their help to clean up as fast as possible and they really needed to do what I asked.
Then I made another series of mistakes. First, I thought the best way to clean then off was to hose them off outside. So I carried Light out and turned on the hose. Well, duh, he started spraying the hose all over the place. I tried to aim it into the little baby pool, but he was just goofing off with it and refused to get himself wet because it was cold. Second, I carried Happiness outside and tried to spray her off. She flipped out. It was cold! So now the war paint is dripping off their bodies onto the concrete patio, so the mess was just spreading.
So then I decided to put them in the shower, but now I had to carry them in one at a time dripping paint through the house. First Light, then Happiness. At this point, my clothes are covered in paint as well. At least they are warm in the shower and I ask them to please stay in there until I get the floor cleaned. They hate to shower with the shower door closed, so they opened it, spraying colored water all over the bathroom floor. I needed some VOOM from The Cat in the Hat.
After a 15 minute shower, much of the paint went down the drain. Next was to transfer them to the bubble bath. First Light, then Happiness in the bath together, with cups. Another mistake. Thinking I could continue to clean the mess up while they soaked in the tub, with cups. Nope. Now I have a flooded bathroom floor to mop up. Then they decide to drain the water themselves. I refill it to rinse them off. Finally, they are free of paint. I am sopping wet and covered in paint, still.
The bathroom floor is mopped up. The wood floor is clean. The table is clean. The kids are clean. My clothes are not clean. The kitchen sink has the full paint cups and brushes in it, still needing to be cleaned.
After the kids were clean. We talked. I asked them if they had fun. “Yes.” I told them that I appreciate their need and desire to be creative and to make messes. I told them that there is a time and place for that. And I asked if we could use the little baby pool outside to do body/mud painting next time. Then they helped me with some other toy clean up and we ate dinner (late).
In the morning I woke up to find that there were still paint footprints on the floor in the playroom. Also, paint on the front screen door, which reminded me that during this whole thing, a neighbor friend stopped over and apparently I looked quite frazzled and spread paint on the door.
I was proud of myself for not blowing my top. And secretly I was happy to see my kids in kahoots together instead of going at each other’s throats. They were giggling together in the tub and during the whole mess making time. My new favorite saying, “if you’re going to laugh about it later, why not laugh about it now.”
So, although this is tongue in cheek, maybe blogging does make one a better parent. It provides a bit of introspection if you know you might be parenting under a microscope or for an audience. My husband says that it is sort of like therapy. Like how you think about what you are doing and know that you have to report back to your therapist, so you adjust your behaviors a little more and make some changes so you are happy with the way you handle things. Kind of like what happened with this story and my blog.
I never did change my clothes.