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Archive for the ‘home-ly duties’ Category

Trying to get my kids to pick up their toys and put them in the basket usually involves various manipulations: “How many can you put away in the time I count to ten?!” “Who can put the books away the fastest?” and, the unfortunate, “I swear, I will throw all of these out in five seconds if you don’t put them away–here I am going to get a trash bag! Seriously, here I go! I’ll do it!”

But when they saw me scrubbing the kitchen molding with a toothbrush, you would have thought that I was eating fistfuls of jellybeans. “Please, me do that?!” “Mine, mine?” and “Can I help? Can I have a toothbrush? Can I do this part, too? Look at how clean I got this!” And the next day: “Can we clean with toothbrushes again?! Please?!”

Damn right you can…but do you know how weird you guys are?

And two little vacuum cleaners have whipped these children into a daily cleaning frenzy. The dog doesn’t even have time to coat the kitchen floor with fur since these guys have started their vacuuming obsession.

Not that I don’t love this…but I still think they’re weird.

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Although…not really. It’s remarkable how sometimes I see something as a chore while they see an interesting task–pulling weeds, washing the car, picking up sticks from the lawn… I’m really buying into the “practical life” part of the Montessori school that Martin will go to next year after watching them.

I vaguely remember thinking how cute the flashing-light-colorful-plastic toys were when Martin was a baby until he showed me that they might interest him for a minute, but a shovel and some dirt, some soapy water–or a vacuum cleaner–is where it’s at.

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A friend asked me for my dinner recipes the other day. If you do not find this at once hilarious and repulsive, it is because you have never seen me cook. Or rather, you’ve never seen me put some things in a pot and forget about it until it’s on fire. I don’t really like to use the oven because that’s where I keep dirty dishes, and those, too, will catch on fire sometimes if you turn the oven on. And if you find this to be an exaggeration, ask the local fire department before we finally unhooked the automatically-call-the-fire-department feature on the smoke alarms. Now we have lots of fire extinguishers so we can just take care of my meals ourselves.

I have always detested cooking, but I never really needed to. And another bonus to meeting this guy that I married is that he loves to cook. Problem solved, with the advantage of screwing with traditional gender roles, which is always fun. No expectations from either one of us that “the wife” would ever, ever cook. He would be more strenuously against it than I, I would venture to say. He makes fantastic food–his desserts are sometimes on fire. Purposefully on fire. Not like my scrambled eggs, which are accidentally on fire.

Leaving my job changed nothing–at first. Perhaps I breastfed with such reckless abandon because, subconsciously, the thought of preparing even a bottle was too much like preparing a meal? Then it was onto jars of baby food. (I considered homemade when my mom gave me a little machine thing to help, but I forgot to try.)

Then I ran into a problem. The baby food stage only lasted for so long. Then the little guy wanted people food, and he needed to eat it all day long, and I couldn’t hold him off until 6:00 when my husband got home. And what might be good enough for me was not good enough for him. I wanted to control every ingredient that went into him. I learned to do a couple of Crock Pot things and other easy dinners. They’re not bad, actually, when I pay attention to things.

But I felt weird all of a sudden . . . cooking dinner, waiting for my husband to come home, children playing at my feet . . . waaaaay too housewifey. But Bianca Bean‘s comment rattles around in my head when I feel like turning up my nose at this image of myself: “Feminist families gotta eat, too.”

So, now I have recipes. I seem to be unable to form a traditional list of ingredients and steps in my recipe-writing, so when I am done with the long narratives for my friend of how precisely I make pasta sauce (hint: I use a jar of already-made pasta sauce!), I think I will add photographs, and perhaps even post them on the internet. This chance will likely not come again.

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