A Stain is Vanquished
Today I am basking in my new (undoubtedly short-lived) status as Domestic Goddess. After spending the entirety of my Sunday cleaning and organizing—including going through all the little guy’s clothes and sorting it into stuff he can wear, stuff he’ll grow into (by season), stuff to put away for next winter, stuff to give to friends, and stuff to donate—I was monumentally exhausted. How, I asked myself, as I have so many times before, do moms with more than one child manage to get these things done? It might help, of course, if I were better at involving my child in these tasks, but merely getting him to try on a pair of pants to see if they fit requires patience, skill, and loads of coaxing.
One pair of his pants had been set aside some time ago after he managed to cover one of the legs with a perplexing amount of glue. Said glue was thick and plastic-y and clung to the fabric tenaciously; spray stain remover was wholly ineffective. The pants are from Gap Kids, where I rarely shop because of its priciness, and I wasn’t keen to relegate them to the rag pile. So this morning I searched for tips on removing glue from clothing.
An amalgam of online advice worked: I used a cheap serrated knife to scrape away as much glue as possible, figuring the teeth would help dig into and under the glue. I then stuck the offending pants leg in the bathroom sink and soaked it in warm water. The plan was to let it soak for 15 minutes or so and then apply rubbing alcohol, but I saw immediately that the glue was softening. So I grabbed my knife, scraped away, and—holy sheet!—the glue peeled right off. Los pantalones are now in the washer and soon will be ready, once again, for the child to destroy them.
Yeeha! It doesn’t take much for me to feel useful and effective.
Chill, readers. I am all for awareness, when appropriate. It’s a good thing to, say, be mindful while eating in order to wholly enjoy your food, be thankful for it, and get the sense that you’re full before you eat six portions. My child, incidentally, has this appalling habit of drinking so much milk with his meal that he becomes uncomfortably full. He then groans miserably about it while others are still eating. Not a fun time. I’m trying to get across the idea of self-regulation, e.g., being aware as you’re becoming full so you don’t overeat (or overdrink) and end up with a horrible stomach ache.
So anyway, mindfulness is a good thing under many circumstances. When a friend is confiding in you, for instance, it’s nice to actually listen, rather than make a mental list of chores you need to do when you get home. When doing yoga, it’s recommended to put aside all the ills of the world that normally plague you and focus on your body and what you’re doing with it. You get my drift. Yet there are times when I’m actually grateful for the human ability to mentally transcend everyday experiences. Yesterday, for instance, during my frenzied cleaning/organizing spree, I completely emptied and cleaned the cat box, something I try to do semi-regularly. It occurred to me, while scraping cat shit from the bottom of the pan, how nice it was, this human ability to focus on things other than the task at hand. Sure, I could be mindful of the smells emanating from the levered-off poo, the particular grating sound the sifter makes against the smooth plastic of the kitty pan, but strangely enough, I didn’t want to. Call me crazy, but it was far more pleasant to contemplate other things, and my methods of self-distraction seemed to make the task go faster.
This is also why I put on music while cleaning. It takes my mind off sweeping up tracked litter, picking the nasties out of the kitchen drain filter, or scrubbing the toilet. I suppose I’d get higher and better Zen credentials if I were mindful of everything I did at each moment of every day, but by drawing a distinction between things to be conscious of and those from which I’d prefer to distract myself, I believe I’ve come closer to the true meaning of what it is to be human.
Admit it: This old mom seriously kicks ass.