I was never a meticulous, house-proud, zero-tolerance-to-mess, death to clutter kind of a gal. I wanted to be, I really did, but two key factors constantly impeded my dream: my inherent laziness when it came to tidying and the fact that M and I are just a little bit messy, all the time. I have always wanted a constantly tidy house, one where the dining table can be used for its primary purpose of dining without having to clear a smorgasbord of crap out the way first, but it has just never happened. Mind you, it has always been a controlled mess. The newspaper pile might be swollen and threatening to topple, but it is definitely a pile. A few dirty mugs might linger unwashed longer than is strictly necessary, but at least they congregate around the sink.
But with E, all tidiness bets are well and truly off. How does one small human being create such chaos with such little effort? And despite our attempts to at least constrain the mess, there is no crevice of the house left uncluttered. Shit just gets absolutely everywhere. I walk into the bathroom for a pee and there is a Santa hat discarded in the middle of the floor. A cricket bat lies abandoned under the kitchen table. A zebra nestles in my shoe. A small car wheel appears in my knicker drawer. A two-inch plastic rod with a threaded end, once part of a construction kit but now universally referred to as ‘the red thing’ turns up
absolutely everywhere: first by the cooker, then in E’s bed, then down the back of the sofa cushion. I swear I throw the sodding thing away in a fit of pique, only then to see it floating in his bath the next day.
There is nowhere I can cast my gaze without some piece of child’s crap staining my peripheral vision. I feel like I am in the middle of some domestic-scale demonstration of entropy in action. A gradual decline into disorder: I may have that written on my gravestone. Or perhaps just on my medical notes.