Family, Friends, Countrymen:
I feel compelled to offer a warning of what waits for you upon entering our humble abode. Not only will I feel better in the hopes of abating any potential surprises and provide some lowered expectations, but you will have a better idea of the battle zone you’re about to walk into. The environment waiting for you on the other side of our front door is not for the faint-hearted. Proceed with caution and never – ever – let your guard down.
When approaching our house, you’ll notice the eclectic collection of festive lawn decorations – balls, bikes, and other random toys scattered throughout the yard for your viewing pleasure. While walking up to our front door, you might even be greeted with a tiny toddler toilet. How has this contraption with an original intended use of potty-training a toddler made a home outside our front door? I wish there was a more interesting story attached, but the simplified version relates to an attempt to wean my toddler off using his beloved potty.
Without rhyme or reason as to why this location was chosen, it was quickly placed outside to best hide from plain view in hopes of encouraging him to use the ‘big boy’ potty. Even though, it’s been a few weeks and my tiny tot has since forgotten about his little toilet, we’ve been too lazy to find it a new home. I’m sure the Jehovah witnesses and mailman that have since visited us have found humor in our porch ornament. If nothing else, it’s sparked some intrigue into what the hell is going on at our house.
This suggestion isn’t intended to be a nice gesture to make you feel more welcome. This is a serious warning to not allow your feet or socks to touch our sticky, crumb-encrusted floor. If you decide to disregard this piece of advice, you will regret it. If you wore socks, the bottoms will be black and covered in unrecognizable food particles. There isn’t a bleach or laundry detergent on the market strong enough to return them to the its original condition. Dare to walk around barefoot? Your rebellious actions will leave you with feet caked in dirt and grime in need of a good scrubbing.
I don’t even take my shoes off. The rare moments my own feet have graced its presence and felt the sensation of the laminate upon its soles is immediately following a good floor cleaning. It is one of the most magical feelings in the whole world, but for obvious reasons, I don’t get the opportunity very often, so I’m not asking you – I’m telling you – leave those shoes on.
Coming into contact with crumbs and an unknown sticky substance is the best-case scenario. In my current eye-range I spot some scrambled eggs and yogurt splattered on the floor below our kitchen table accompanied with some rogue noodles that escaped my sweeping attempt after last night’s dinner – and that’s the mess you can see. I’d be more concerned with the surprises hiding out of plain view.
Even with my best effort, I sometimes am guilty of losing track of the comings and goings of various food and beverages. The other day, my son ran off with a hot dog and I’m positive he didn’t eat it all. I’m just waiting for this now discolored, warm, mangled meat to magically reappear in the most random location. Oh, and that smell? It most likely is from a disregarded sippy cup full of warm, sour milk curdling away in the depths of some hiding spot.
If you can help it, it’s best to leave your personal belongings in your car, at home or some other safe place. Within these walls, everything is fair game. I can try my best, but my children are masters in the art of thievery. One will distract you while the other takes off with your sunglasses, wallet, phone and whatever you mistakenly decided to bring with you on your visit.
Do you like your sunglasses unscratched and credit cards safely within your wallet and not scattered throughout my living room floor? Then leave it behind. Also, you might go home with a special present or gift my children decided to sneak into your bag or purse. Guess who is the new owner of a match car or plastic hippo? You! If you’re lucky it’s a small toy of some sort, otherwise it could be a leftover peanut butter and jelly sandwich they’ve carefully chosen to hide for you to find at a later time. You’re welcome for the parting gift.
Does the idea of having a conversation to the background noise of banging, screaming and crying make you cringe? If so, maybe it’s best we make a date to get together when I have free time, AKA see you in 18 years. Distractions are not only common, they’re constant. Tiny human beings will be slamming doors and drawers, using anything they can find as musical instruments. There will be screaming, yelling, random animal noises and all-too-accurate dinosaur roars. In addition to the noises coming out of their mouths, you’ll hear sirens from their fire trucks and other irritating sounding toys. You may also potentially hear some daddy finger songs or other annoying nursery rhymes playing on the TV to help create a window of opportunity for conversation and an attempt to distract their attention.
This is not a possibility, but a certainty. Despite my best efforts to keep my kiddos clothed, it doesn’t always work. My one toddler hates the feeling of clothes on him and most likely is running around topless. If we’re lucky, his shirt is the only article of clothing missing from his body. My other little was just recently potty-trained. After using the restroom, he freely walks out of the bathroom sans pants. Since he is unable to wipe his own butt, you might catch an up close and personal viewing of that as well.
I’m even guilty of joining the nudist brigade. With a newborn constantly attached to one of my boobs, I can’t promise there won’t be a moment of a slipped nip with breast milk leaking or squirting in your presence. If this makes you uncomfortable, I won’t be offended – I just may not see you for a few years.
Do you enjoy a physical space surrounding you keeping you safe from intrusion? Yes? Pre-kids, I was like you. Hell, I still value it, when at all possible, I am granted this luxury. I can respect it, but I can’t promise my boys will. In fact, they most likely will laugh at this ridiculous notion. Ever wondered what it feels like to have 40 pounds of toddler climbing you like a rock wall? On you and under you, there will be tiny human beings all around. I promise you, it’s as horrible as it sounds.
They will be up in your grill showing you their newest ‘owie’. Your body will be used as a mountain for which their cars and dinosaurs can play on. With that said, I wouldn’t wear anything nice-ish. Actually, I would suggest a poncho or a similar plastic covering. Nothing snags a nice knitted sweater like the claw from a T-Rex. Also, you most likely are sitting on raisins which now are stuck to your butt. My crumby, sticky kids will have more than made contact with your clothing at some point. It’s inevitable. Graham cracker handprints will be left on your back and goldfish crumbs in your hair.
Although this list isn’t all encompassing, it’s a good representation of what you will experience when visiting us. Hopefully it doesn’t scare you off, but helpful in offering some guidance of what you’ll encounter upon stopping by.
Hope to see you soon!