I don’t know why but some of my German genes start kicking in again…Inborn desires regarding tidiness and order are piping up. They are normally a bit suppressed in the Swiss environment due to overstimulation (see here), but somehow the last days felt like tilting at windmills in our own flat.
Ever since the little one started to walk, nothing under the height of a meter has been secure anymore. And like every toddler (and sadly almost no adult) she feels the world needs to be explored, every tiny little detail has to be examined and touched. She also seems to inherit her own sense of order and tidiness which is somehow interfering with mine. She has her own way of sorting things…the socks don’t belong in the box on her changing table (where I put them), but they need to be split between the drawer with her burp cloths and the small white drawer in our bedroom (where I never check – it only happened by coincidence that I discovered most of her socks there). Some special socks belong in our laundry basket no matter whether they are dirty or not.
If you visit us after 8pm, everything will be fine. We have established a well working evening routine: Karsten plays with the little one after dinner while I am quickly cleaning the kitchen and sweeping the floor. And whoever doesn’t put the little one to bed is responsible to put away all the toys in the living room and the entrance area. This way I can enjoy the evening with a good conscience.
However, if you visit us at 9am (which is exactly the time when neighbours normally swing by) you’ll experience the following. The entrance area, which is also our dining area and which leads into our open living room, will be covered with all possible jackets and hats of the little one because first thing in the morning she is emptying her clothes box. Our shoes will randomly lie around in front of the door, the soles will be taken out and distributed among the shoes and under the table. As a welcoming gift you will also find one or two of my bras right in the middle of the entrance area (the little one is somehow obsessed with emptying my drawer in the bedroom and her favorite part are the bras which she lovingly puts around her neck or her arm by now). You will stumble over the shoehorn which Karsten never puts away (he justifies the shoehorn with his size – he is just to tall to reach his feet!). And if you try to hold onto the table, you’ll find it occupied by empty lunch boxes which could theoretically be put right into the appropriate drawer one meter further away in the kitchen, but that wouldn’t add to the picture, would it?
Since it is 9am, the little one and I just had breakfast so there are also dirty dishes on the table. And the floor is covered with crumbs and parts of fruits. I couldn’t clean it so far because I am busy changing diapers – as every morning right after breakfast (you can literally set the clock to it….after all, we are in Switzerland).
If you dare to use the restroom in our flat, you’ll find it covered with toilet paper (unused, thank god!) and books. If you are lucky, you may even find a good book in the rubbish bin as the little one just discovered that the rubbish bin is something where you apparently dispose things that you don’t need right now.
And if you dare to continue further, you will enter the guest room which is by now full of empty boxes, old newspapers and wrapping paper. This is because we received two boxes of dishes from Karsten’s grandmother who moved into a nursing home. In order to store the dishes somewhere I have to clean up the little storage room because we don’t have any space left in our kitchen. And while I am cleaning the storage room, I am feeling the urgent need to buy boxes.
Boxes are great! Especially nice looking boxes. I love putting stuff into boxes. Because the stuff can continue being untidy inside the box, but it’ll create a superficial sense of order which pleases my genes. And every now and then when I have nothing better to do I can take a single box and sort it. Awesome! Three cheers for boxes!
And now I have to excuse myself. Karsten is putting the little one to bed, which means….well. Same procedure as every day, James.
I would love to see pictures of your flat at 8pm vs 9am 😉
I second that!
Bwahaha. I love the article. Especially the sock conundrum.
Same thing here. We even have the same evening routine. What is worse you think? Swabian housewives or swiss? I recently walked in a house of a neighbour unannounced with a kid the same age as mine and it was clean!!
I’ll try to capture it next week! Weekends don’t count, you know…..the chaos is bigger because Karsten is at home too 😛
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