I have been known to threaten extreme consequences if I see crumbs on the floor or jelly caked on the table or "Do you have to get the play doh out today? Really? Because I just vacuumed." You'd think being from an artsy sort of background, I would be more tolerant (encouraging even) of a child's creative initiative.
Not so much really.
When the kids ask to paint or to play with the moon sand, I don't see imaginative little minds hard at work, I see crusty paint blobs on the underside of the chairs and teeny tiny bits of "sand" coating our dining room table. (that stuff is the devil's creation-nothing gets it all up except repeated contact with human limbs, like say while trying to eat a meal and you lean over to pass the potatoes and when you sit back up you realize your arm is coated in a fine layer of minuscule sand particles much like the ineffective abrasive scrub used to remove the crayon marks on your six year old's wall. Not only does the crayon not come off, but the wall is now covered in a sticky sandpaperish substance immune to water and washcloths)
I should have known better when, while down in the only place I can have a phone conversation and actually hear who I'm talking to, things got quiet upstairs. Then I heard sort of rolling /banging noises on the floor up there. "Oh, they're just playing with the trains." I thought. At least nobody's crying or anything.
My first clue should have been Katie at the bottom of the basement stairs, playing with the shop vac and clutching a wet paint roller.
"Why is this wet honey?"
"Because we ceening wif it"
"Oh, that sounds nice..."
As I reached the top of the stairs, I could hear Shannon in the living room, prancing around and singing happily. She was dusting everything with the feather duster. Which we just bought for the kids to play with anyway, so no biggie. Except that she was dusting things like the stove and the table top, and I kept imagining microscopic dust mites all over our food, but whatever.
"Wow, are you cleaning? Nice job."
Daniel was a bit more adventurous.
Nervously entering the kitchen, I saw that the floor was soaking wet. "Wha... haape..." I squeaked out and as I panned the room, I found 3 bowls full of water placed on the floor each with a disintegrated paper towel in them, a sopping wet paint roller (you know, the thick kind for textured walls?) and Daniel in the living room clutching a sad wad of saturated paper towels, wiping all the picture frames with it.
"Yes kids, nice job! Wow! You guys did this all by yourself? Great!"
"Just let mommy teach you how to clean next time." I say calmly through clenched teeth with all my will power as I mop up the soggy dog/cat fur clumps on my hands and knees.
Could have been worse. At least they only used water right?