Every two years or in this case, three, my house gets purged from top to bottom and cleaned before each new baby appears. (It’s pretty much the ONLY time my house gets cleaned so yes, we pretty much live in filth or half-assed “cleaning” the rest of the time.) I don’t know what’s going to happen when we stop having babies after Baby4 makes their appearance, but I guess I have to figure out a new plan.
I have become a different person.
Ok. Not different than who I really am, deep inside (a Failed Type-A), but different than how I have been since I got pregnant.
I got my first glimpse of who I can be (and who I used to be and who I become again during portions of my pregnancies) back in mid-May when Hapa Papa’s hotel room got broken into and his wallet was stolen while he was traveling.
Hapa Papa woke me up with a call at 6:30am and I had to get immediately moving on canceling credit cards, ordering new insurance cards, finding out how he was going to be able to make his flights and check into hotels without ID, and finding him short term housing because it turns out TSA will let you through but Hilton won’t let you check in without ID even if you’re a Platinum Member and have a police report stating that your wallet with all your ID was stolen.
(Thanks to all my ATL friends who considered and offered housing to Hapa Papa that night and a SPECIAL shout out to Hotelier who DID open her home to my poor husband who all accounts told, had a super shitty day.)
Anyhow, this super long preamble is just to say that recently, I have begun the Manic Phase of my pregnancy (which thankfully coincides with preparing for our Taiwan Trip) and now, I am a woman on a mission.
Lots and lots and lots of lists. That cross-reference each other and may or may not also have sub-lists. (Because like I said in my last post, that’s how you know you’re an expert list maker: when your lists cross-reference other lists.)
After all, without lists, how will I know how I’m failing?
But the best thing about my lists is that I have been really good about executing them! And even better – many of my lists have inadvertently had the side benefit of getting rid of shit in my house.
Funny aside (as if my posts aren’t entirely composed of asides), a college buddy of mine recently texted me saying that he and his wife were expecting their first child a few weeks before Baby4 is due. I asked if they were registered and he, being polite, also asked me if I were registered.
I couldn’t stop laughing.
I told him that at this point, I want to get rid of shit – not get new shit.
In fact, I’m thinking that for subsequent babies, instead of people bringing gifts, they really should come to my house and take shit away.
Anyhow, what has really been different this round of Manic Pregnancy Phase is that I made a life-changing decision: I was going to get rid of any toy or book or thing that made me angry.
It’s kind of different than Kondo because I’m not necessarily keeping only the things that give me joy because quite frankly, few things give me joy and if I did that, I would be living in an empty house with no people in it. (But goodness, it would be pristine!!)
It should come as no surprise to anyone who has made even a brief acquaintance with my person, but lots of things get me angry – and toys with lots of parts and pieces are high on the list of pissing me off.
But I always felt guilty about hating toys like stacking rings, puzzles, or educational toys with lots of moving parts because aren’t these good things? Good toys? And aren’t I having more babies? Shouldn’t I keep baby toys?
Welp, not this time!
First, I gathered all the flotsam toys – you know the type. The Happy Meal rejects and party favor crap and random shit your kids get in their dentist goody bags. Miscellaneous toys that are all collected in a junk box that your kids don’t play with but when they do, they toss out every single fucking thing all over the floor and then when you try to get rid of it, they beg and plead and say it’s the funnest stuff ever.
This time, I started as I normally did. I sorted. But then, half way through sorting, I realized, I don’t want this shit in my house.
So, I got a plastic bag and dumped the entire box into the plastic bag.
It was amazing.
After that, the bandaid was pulled off so to speak and I began to throw away or give away things with abandon.
Those educational toys that I bought used and in bulk but never took out because there were too many parts and who am I kidding anyway I don’t educate my kids? I put them in the donate pile.
Those toys I never cared for or my kids never played with – even if they were educational or if whenever I took the toys out to be purged my kids would all of a sudden LOVE the toys finally and play with them and weep and cry and thus convince me to keep them but then they never touched the toys ever again until the next time I took them out to be purged? I got fooled a few times (to the tune of several years delay) but this time, I was onto them.
I was mercilessly unsentimental.
I tossed stuffed animals my father and mother had given ME when I was a kid, but I never played with them and they just gathered dust and my kids never played with them and it just filled my house with stuffed animals that got in my way and other visiting kids would throw all over my house and piss me off.
I tossed baby toys that despite my expecting Baby4 in the fall, I got rid of anyway because they piss me off.
Yes. Stacking rings piss me off.
Why? BECAUSE THE RINGS ARE NEVER STACKED AND ARE ALWAYS ALL OVER MY HOUSE AND I’M A COMPLETIST AND THAT DRIVES ME FUCKING CRAZY.
In fact, I got rid of lots of toys that despite being educational and useful, the sheer number of parts that were never collected and therefore wont to go missing or showing up in random places (like conveniently under couches, behind furniture, under dining tables, under beds, and/or in every fucking corner).
I got rid of toys because I remembered that even though I might have paid a lot of money for them, or they would be age-appropriate for Baby4, neither Gamera or Glow Worm ever played with the toys because they only wanted to play with the toys Cookie Monster played with and they sure as fuck weren’t baby toys.
I threw away all the bath toys that grossed me out but I never tossed them because I didn’t want to waste the money I had spent on them in the first place. (That meant I threw away most of the squeezy ones that can suck in water and squish water out. Can we say mildew and mold breeding grounds that my kids then soaked in and played in? Ew.)
I tossed two garbage bags full of maternity clothes that I inherited because I was never going to wear them because I hated them or they fit weird or I felt guilty for hating free clothes but fuck it, this is my last pregnancy and all my friends are done being human incubators and I was the last stop so BYE BYE clothes that took up space and made me sad to look at and wear!
And soon, I will be purging baby/toddler clothes with glee.
I got a lot of clothes as hand me downs that I always felt guilty about giving away, but quite frankly, even though a lot of the clothes were cute and adorable, I hated putting my kids in them because they were too much effort. FFS, my kids lived in PJs the first 3-6 months of their lives. Babies do NOT need socks or shoes. EVER. Unless they can actually walk and by then, they’re not babies anymore.
And now, because this is my last baby, as soon as Baby4 passes a developmental stage or clothing stage, I will be donating ALL OF THE THINGS.
I did mention that I’m not a romantic or sentimental in any way, right?
I can’t wait.
And then, Friday night, I made a startling jump in my thinking.
I had been stressing out about Cookie Monster and Gamera’s homeschooling classes and schedules for Fall 2016 because that’s what I do: I plan and I worry and like things tied up neatly in a bow ASAP even when it’s implausible.
But as I was driving home after sending out a bunch of emails trying to get a bunch of different classes to fit and worrying about all the sports Cookie Monster enjoys and also squeezing ballet in for Gamera, and then squeezing in some music and calligraphy classes for them both, I suddenly had a thought.
My kids don’t have to take these classes.
And the more I thought about it, the more it appealed to me.
After all, I’M HAVING A BABY MID-FALL.
WTF AM I DOING signing up my kids for all these classes that they enjoy but don’t necessarily love or need or want?
WHY am I doing this to myself?
So I said, “No.”
I emailed the teachers and told them I changed my mind and I felt as if a huge weight had been taken off my shoulders.
Now, I still have my kids in a bunch of classes, but it is considerably less than I have this year (even though I have one more kid in school). And now, I have time to work on things individually with Cookie Monster and Gamera.
I am ecstatic.
And actually looking forward to the new school year. (Yes, I realize that summer vacation just started. But I did mention that I’m anal retentive, right?)
So, this is all just to say, that the lesson I learned from homeschooling in February finally sank its way into my brain and I actually applied it to my life.
May you, too, experience the joy of jettisoning the things, whether real or hypothetical. Have a fantastic Monday!