Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday Tip: Ten reasons to tread lightly and wear your shoes

Motherhood is full of surprises. From those first flutters of pregnancy to the wonder of falling in love with a bald-headed baby, the only thing you can really expect is the unexpected.  I’ve grown immune to some of the unanticipated side effects of parenting… sleep deprivation, driving a minivan and the ongoing battle against kid-clutter have all become part of my new norm. Something that continues to surprise me however, is all that's underfoot, in the most literal sense.  Here's my Top 10 list of barefoot surprises... along with a renewed commitment to treading lightly and wearing my shoes!
  1. Legos. Ever step barefoot on a Lego? If so, you can probably relate to the expletives that explode from my mouth each time it happens. I do occasionally apply a child-friendly filter, which now has our 2 1/2 year old triplets using the word “freakin’!” in a most charming way. My barefoot encounters with wayward Legos are so frequent that if I ever get around to writing my memoir, I think I will call it “My Life in (Freakin’!) LegoLand.”
  2. WaWas. You may call it a lovey or woobie or blankie but those beloved soft comfort items are known in our house as “WaWas”. Actually, for Liam it was a “WeeWee” but then Ciara came along and we didn’t want her to be the only little girl on the block with a “WeeWee” so, she mercifully called hers a “WaWa” and this term of endearment is here to stay. As are the Wawas… all five kids have them but the triplets in particular get great joy from sucking on them. When they are in their cribs making those sweet sucking sounds, it is absolutely endearing; when one falls out of the crib and you step on it barefoot in the middle of the night, it is absolutely gross. Soggy, wet, nasty and gross. Enough said!
  3. Soggy Cheerios. I admit it. We rely on our dog Finnegan to do a lot of the post-meal clean up. So much so, in fact, that he’s gained well over ten pounds since the triplets were born. He is so efficient in his efforts that he sometimes even starts the clean up while the little guys are still in their high chairs; the sight of the chairs being nudged around the kitchen by a ninety pound dog is an especially good one if you ever get a chance to see it. In any case, I suppose we’ve become overly reliant on Finnegan and under-reliant on the broom because I now find myself muttering each morning as I dislodge yet another Cheerio from between my toes.
  4. Our dog, Finnegan. He does pretty well for himself at mealtime but any other time of day he’s prone to be tripped over, stepped on or plowed over. This never used to happen but now, it’s fairly routine. He might get knocked out of the way as I chase down a kid or worse yet, stepped on overnight as I go to find one of those darn misplaced Wawas. Either way, that poor dog really takes his blows. 
  5. A bike helmet. Ever wake up in the morning and trip over a kid' bike helmet next to your bed? Me too! I thought this was a rather unusual occurrence but have since heard from other Moms that it’s happened to them too. Not sure why the bike helmets end up in the bedroom instead of on the porch in the neat little basket I’ve put there for the very purpose of bike helmet storage. I guess it’s probably the same reason why my neatly labeled baskets for “Cars”, “Trains”, and “Dolls” now flow over with books, random puzzle pieces and yes, even an occasional Lego.
  6. Big Wheels… and little ones too. Matchbox cars, firetrucks, dump trucks and the like never seem to find their way into those neatly labeled baskets and bins. And, they just may be the death of me one day. I’ve been known to sail half way across the house on a moderately sized “shake and go” car and trust me, the sight of me shaking and going in this way is not one you want to see. Especially since it may also include another inappropriate freakin’ expletive!
  7. Play Dough. Fresh out of the jar, this stuff is squishy and soft. Not something I enjoy between the toes but, it’s preferable to those gummy, soggy Cheerios. Leave it out for a while though and suddenly that Play Dough isn’t so playful. It hardens to teeny, rainbow colored pebbles that I find scattered throughout the house and between my toes. Let me go on record and make it official: I hate Play Dough!
  8. Crayons/Markers: While you may not naturally equate these childhood tools of the trade to the aforementioned big wheels and matchbox cars, they can just as easily propel you across a room if you step on them just so. These are yet another shining example of defiant toys that refuse to reside in their neatly labeled bins. Why, oh why, do I even bother?
  9. The laundry basket. There are two places in my house that I would expect to find the laundry basket – in the basement by the washer/dryer or in my closet brimming over with the days soiled wears. Unfortunately, there are probably 22 places that I might stumble across, over or into that basket. Ok, maybe not quite 22 since our house isn’t that big but, suffice it to say, ever since the triplets decided the laundry basket is their “boat”, I’ve found it docked in the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms and everywhere in-between.
  10. Sticks and stones. They say that sticks and stone may break your bones and I am here to tell you this is true! While I haven’t actually broken a bone (yet!), I have stepped on and tripped over many of these “collections” courtesy of any of our five kids. What’s surprising about this isn’t the notion of kids collecting them but rather, using the dining/living/bedroom/kitchen floors as display cases. If only they’d leave their wares outside, I’d be more alert, more apt to watch underfoot for sharp rocks and jagged sticks; I just don’t have that kind of radar up when I’m blindly fumbling for my morning coffee!
So, there you have it. Ten items large and small that I’m still surprised to find underfoot. I suppose the only other thing I should mention is, well, my kids. With so many of them in such a relatively small space, I have been known to literally trip over my own children. Especially when the triplets were in that cute crawling/pull up on your legs phase. I’ve apologized countless times for stepping on tiny fingers and toes; just imagine their shock and surprise when they are repeatedly stepped on by their own Mom! Now that I think about it, maybe all those Legos, Cheerios, Play Dough, sticks and stones I find myself stepping on and tripping over aren’t accidentally left behind. Maybe it’s just my kids trying to tell me in a not-so-subtle way, “Hey Mom, watch where you’re freakin’ going.  And while you're at it, put on a pair of freakin' shoes!!!”

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