I said to Andy last week, as I wiped down the table, started the dishwasher, decluttered the counters and picked up yet another pair of Addie's shoes, that I often feel like a well educated maid.
He immediately frowned and said sorry - but, unlike years ago, I no longer feel like his maid. His discarded black socks and wadded up undershirt barely annoy me. The keys on the counter instead of the key hook? No big thang. Whiskers in the sink? A rare occurrence these days.
Instead, what I find disheartening, is that I've been demoted: I am now the personal maid to a three year old.
A very messy three year old. A very active three year old. A three year old who has too dang much stuff.
All day, every day I pick up. I pick up shoes, undies, dolls, doll outfits. I pick up stuffed animals, books, blankets. I pick up pieces of paper, chalk, socks. I find shriveled pieces of cheese, grapes, stale crackers and cups of sour milk - all of which I pick up.
I pick up dropped pieces of clothing, used tissues, discarded coloring books. I pick up DVDs, remote controls, tiny high heels. I pick up pairs of socks, cat toys, crayons. I pick up match box cars, pieces of fake food, toy phones.
Piles of blocks. Buckets of Tinker Toys. Mini jungle animals. Tea sets. Tiaras. Lunch dishes. Lemonade glasses. Peanut butter smeared napkins. Wands. Floofy dresses - all day, everyday - picking up.
Yesterday, I walked into Addie's room and was faced with a disaster zone. All the things I mentioned above were strewn across the carpet plus a few more pleasures, like dirty undies, multiple pairs of PJs, stick on earrings and a bath towel.
I told Addie we couldn't go anywhere until she got her room cleaned up. Knowing full well that she couldn't tackle such an enormous task, I offered to help.
Thirty-five minutes later her bed was made, closet and drawers cleaned out, and furniture dusted. Her books were shelved, stuffed animals in their baskets, and blankets piled in the corner. Her hairbows were clipped to ribbons and her purses in their cubbyhole.
Her task? To pick up her magnetic doll set and the accessories. I looked around at what I had accomplished and realized her dolls were not picked up, but were well dressed and perfectly accessorized. I was annoyed.
And then she looked up at me with those enormous eyes and said See mama? I do it. I do good job. Doesn't she look pretty?
And all could think about was the time that my mom sent me to my room to clean the mess I had made, one that I am sure was shockingly similar to Addison's. I have no idea how old I was, probably a little older than Addie. I remember not wanting to clean and knowing that if I dragged my feet long enough my mother would trudge upstairs and take over.
I was wrong.
She trudged upstairs, laid on my bed and informed that she would watch as I got my room clean. I have no idea how long she laid there, or how long I cleaned, but when I was done I was so proud.
I distinctly remember putting a record on my Winnie-the-Pooh record player, which also projected lights while the music played, and crawling in my bed, nuzzling next to Mom watching the lights bounce off the walls and saying See Mom? I did it. I did a good job.
It's quite possible by that point my mom was snoring.