My Enchanted House

I’ve had my suspicions for a while. So I’ve been watching. It always pays to watch. Quietly, sneakily, and always out of the corner of one eye.

That’s how you notice this sort of thing.

I’ve tried to figure out other explanations for the phenomena occurring within my house, but I’ve drawn a blank. Therefore, I can only conclude that my house is enchanted.

Ooh, spooky.

Ooh, spooky.

I can hear you scoffing, you know. That’s cool. I was skeptical myself at first. But read on, and I’m sure you’ll agree that it is the only logical solution.

1. The Automatically Refilling Washing Basket

Now, in a house overflowing with children, I expect to do a lot of washing. We invested in a dryer shortly after Squeak was born. I had resisted up until then, but I had to admit that it was just impossible to get the washing dried quickly enough. The fact that Squeak was a never-ending vom rocket didn’t exactly help matters.

So it should be easy to keep on top of the washing pile, right? Having the dryer means that everything can get cleaned and put away at speed, surely.

Yeah, no.

And I’m not even talking about the extreme lack of clothes putting-away. Because that’s not a magical mystery, that’s just me.

This is what I don’t understand. I throw in the last load of washing. Yes, I’ll admit to engaging in a bit of a silent cheer at that point.

It’s the small victories that count.

Then I walk away to do other things, obviously. Because standing in front of an empty washing basket for prolonged periods would be a bit weird, wouldn’t it?

Maybe that’s my mistake.

When I return to the kitchen, somehow the washing basket is full again. To the brim. How?! In a house where nudity is the preferred lifestyle choice (amongst the population with an age of single figures, I hasten to add), how can they generate so many dirty clothes? And so speedily, as well.

I'm not wearing clothes for oh... about *two* years.

I’m not wearing clothes for oh… about *two* years.

It must be magic.

Or maybe I need a bigger laundry basket. Whatever.

2. The Toy Box Poltergeist

Ok, so I may be stretching the definition of ‘enchanted’ slightly with a poltergeist. But who gives a shit? Not me.

For me, it describes exactly what goes on in the playroom when my back is turned.

We don’t actually have a poltergeist. At least, I don’t think so. Sure, I find that the house frequently looks like something has gone through it like a whirlwind, but I’m not sure that’s a particularly reliable indication of supernatural activity.

Still, I could be wrong. Let me describe what occurs. I try and tidy up the playroom a couple of times a day. Nothing excessive, just throwing the small things into boxes and moving the big things back where they live. I find it helps prevent the frequent howls from Big Girl and Little Girl because they’ve stood on a plastic arm, as well as Squeak’s many trip-overs.

It takes all of three minutes to do. But as soon as my back is turned…

I hear a clatter and a clunk.

I look back. One of the toy boxes is sitting empty in the middle of the room, its contents strewn across the floor.

Of course, you could blame the kids if you want to. Occam’s Razor and all that. I suppose it is the mostly likely explanation. But that’s the thing.

There is never a single child anywhere in the vicinity. And their faces look pretty damn innocent, I can tell you that.

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See?

On second thoughts, it must be a poltergeist.

3. The Disappearing Fruit

I think it’s true to say that if you have small children, they get through a lot of fruit. Usually.

Mine love it. They’ll eat almost any kind. So needless to say, we buy loads of it.

So, where does it go? And I don’t mean into their mouths. Some of it does, but I’m convinced that is not the end of the story.

Because it seems to me that whenever I look into the fruit bowl, all that’s there is three oranges and a rather tired looking apple. Even if we’ve only just shopped. It doesn’t make any sense.

Nope, I got nothin'.

Nope, I got nothin’.

I know they’re not sneaking it. I’m sure they could if they really wanted to, but they’d be foiled by their constant and irresistible urge to parade their spoils in front of me with a cheeky grin on their faces.

I’m considering buying shares in a fruit shop. Or at least a new fruit bowl.

4. The Time Travelling Carpet

I have to confess to being a little bit slack about hoovering. It started because Squeak was abjectly terrified of the hoover. She would scream blue murder as soon as it switched on, and cling to my legs. Not a set-up conducive to successful floor-cleaning. However, she’s over that now, and I still haven’t shifted my arse.

I do try and do it fairly regularly though, much as it irks me. Because we have a very light coloured carpet which gives approximately zero leeway to bits and crumbs. And for some reason, the children appears to moult in a way akin to a pedigree cat. If I leave it a few days, I find that the carpet has acquired enough kid-hair to make a wig for a giant.

It’s… odd.

Odd, you say.

Odd, you say.

I can’t help but feel that my effort are futile at times, though. It seems like my nice clean carpet lasts all of five minutes, before it looks just like it did again. I have pondered it, and I think I have worked out the cause.

My carpet can travel back in time.

Sure, laugh all you want. I’ll have you know that I thought hard about this. For at least 37 seconds.

I’m not sure exactly why the carpet does this. I am not arrogant enough to think that I can easily pick apart the mind-set of a floor-covering. But whatever the reason, it’s happening. Right before my very eyes.

Well, ok. Not right before my eyes. Just before I turn around, then.

Close enough.

5. The Teleporting Children

Predominantly, the animal I would compare my children to is the baby elephant. That’s what they sound like most of the time, leaping and crashing about. I always say that I can tell where they are in the house simply by closing my eyes and listening for a second.

Except sometimes, I can’t.

This happened to me just the other night. It was after Squeak and I had had a delightful, poorly-baby nap on the couch together. She didn’t wake up until 6.45pm, so obviously she was still playing long after the others were in bed.

It's party time!

It’s party time!

I went off to the kitchen to get a drink. On my return, I was convinced that Squeak was playing next to the bookcase. She does that a lot. Her favourite game is to pull all of the books off the lower shelves and attempt to rip their covers off. Need I mention that these are my books. Of course she wouldn’t do that to her own.

I was so convinced she was there that I headed over there to give her a cuddle. Now, that bit of our room isn’t visible from the kitchen door. So I couldn’t see her, but she was definitely there.

Just as I was about to reach her, I heard a little voice say, “Daaaaaat!” From the other side of the room.

And I have to say, it totally freaked me out. Because I would swear that she was next to the bookcase. I could sense her.

Hmmm, might have gone a bit too ‘woo,’ there. But I could! She couldn’t have walked across the room, because I would have seen her. And I will not agree that she had always been on the other side of the room, and I am just imagining things.

Pah!

I guess this means Squeak can teleport. And if she can, the others must be able to as well. So…

How do I persuade them to use this magical power to get themselves to school in the morning?

6. The Spoons

Oh the spoons. The bastard, stupid, annoying spoons.

I hate spoons. Or, more specifically, I hate our spoons.

They are some seriously disloyal motherfuckers. All the rest of the cutlery just stays in its pot in the kitchen until it’s needed. But not the spoons.

They just can’t wait to go off on their travels.

Yes, I do realise that talking about spoons as if they are sentient beings may sound a little questionable. But still, that’s exactly what I’m saying.

I would say that we buy spoons at least every few months. Therefore, there should be a relative treasure trove of soup-scoopers available for the taking.

You guessed it, there isn’t. Almost every time I go to grab a spoon, all I can find it forks and knives. How is that even possible? They stay in the same room all the time, for God’s sake! It’s like some kind of fucked-up version of Beauty and the Beast.

Oh, apart from the spoons that Big Girl takes to school for eating yoghurt with. But I’m pretty confident that’s not the problem.

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That’s just too obvious.

No, the only explanation is that the spoons come to life when noone is looking, and plot their escape. It makes total sense, amirite?

I’ve just checked, and we are approaching critical level as we speak. Time to go spoon shopping!

Well, it would be, but I’ve got a better idea.

I’m thinking that I will dress up as a ninja, and conceal myself in a cunning and devious spot where I can effectively observe the evil spoons.

Well, I’ll probably just hide under the table. I don’t think I can fit anywhere else.

But I’ll catch them. And then they will pay.

So, having read my well-researched but not exhaustive list, I’m sure you will agree that my house is positively, absolutely enchanted. Right? Yes?

Is your house enchanted? Do you ever feel like everything is secretly working against you? If so, let me know in the comments!

Housework Battles I Just Can’t Win

My house has been immaculate approximately 3 times. All of them were in the final weeks before the kids were born. Intense nesting set in and I cleaned just about everything. I even cleaned the bits you can’t see.

And that is a big deal.

All the rest of the time, it has a status I like to describe as ‘mildly chaotic.’ I mean, the basics are done. You’re not going to get food poisoning if you eat here. But a lot of the time I just have to let stuff go.

Don’t blame me though. I do my best. It’s all the kids’ fault.

Don't let this innocent face fool you.

Don’t let this innocent face fool you.

Explain to me how you put the washing away with a feral baby on the loose? I can’t even pee in peace! Sure, you can suggest I put Squeak in a sling and get on with it, but there’s one problem with that. Squeak insists that I remain in a perfectly upright position when she is on my back. The moment I bend over to pick something, she lets loose with an almighty screech directly into my ear-hole. It sums up her feelings exactly: a mash-up between, “You’re killing me!” and, “I will kill you!”

Yeah, not listening to that.

So with the washing pile, I am fighting a losing battle. I do have a system, though. It’s just a fucking stupid one.

The clean washing comes out of the dryer and gets dumped in a pile. At this point, I am full of good intentions. I am definitely going to fold them and take them upstairs. In a minute.

Never happens.

I am forced into action when the pile starts to collapse whenever small people walk by. By this point, it’s pretty big. In an uncharacteristic burst of energy, I drag the pile into the living room and sort it into each person’s clothes. Squeak messes with the proceedings slightly. In an attempt to copy me, she grabs clothes of the top of the pile and launches them across the room.

This might look like what I am doing, but it is not.

Then, I take each person’s pile into the correct bedroom. I am totally going to fold them and put them away in the right place. Honestly.

Later.

Eventually I can’t take the mess and spend half a day folding and putting away everybody’s clothes.

See? Stupid.

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A sign of how infrequently I do this sorting is that almost every time, I have to sort out the clothes that Squeak has grown out of.

It’s cool, you can judge. I’m not even ashamed.

Then there’s the kitchen floor. I don’t even know what happens there. Well, I do mostly. The kids.

Squeak is in that joyous phase that all babies have to go through. She likes to express that she is finished with a meal by using one arm to sweep the leftovers onto the floor. Every time.

Did you know you have to feed kids, like, 3 times a day?

That’s a lot of rejected food. All under the highchair.

And you have to add Big Girl and Little Girl into the mix. They have come to the (mistaken) assumption that I can’t see the annoying stuff they do. They have absolutely no evidence for this. I catch them at pretty much everything using Mother Radar. They still keep trying.

Their new trick is to take the food they do not like, check to see if I’m watching, and quietly drop it under the table.

Grrr.

In conclusion, I need either a dog, or a dustbuster.

I have neither. I do have one thing though. A baby who is completely terrified of the vacuum cleaner.

I’m talking ‘screaming so hard her lips turn blue’ terrified. So it’s pretty hard to hoover up with her in the room.

I try my best, but that’s a fight I am not winning either. It’s not that big a deal though. I mean, it’s not like anyone licks the floor now, is it?

Um.

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Don’t even get me started on bed-making. I mean, when are you supposed to fit that in? To those who are saying to the screen, “Straight away, when you get up,” I say ha ha ha!

Very funny.

My kids are G. Rumpy when they get up. I have approximately 30 seconds before Little Girl throws her first tantrum of the day. I would prefer to be downstairs when this happens, so I can hide.

To those who are saying, “Get the kids to help!” Again, funny. I’m not sure you can train pseudo-zombies to make beds. I swear, Big Girl would brush her teeth with the wrong end of the brush if there wasn’t someone there to switch it round for her. They are just. not. awake.

And finally, to those who are saying, “Just do it at some point in the day fgs, you hideous slattern!” I have but one thing to say in reply.

Do you remember the feral baby?

This post is doing a public service for all. For the people who keep this shit straight, you get to feel all smug and stuff. For the people who are just like me, you now know it is not only you.

And just remember, by avoiding doing the stuff up there, I can spend more time doing this thing right here.

So it’s a win for you.

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