Motherandering: (n)  A close cousin to meandering

An example of the way I run my household is chronicled in Laura Joffe Numeroff’s book, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. For those unfamiliar with Numeroff, the picture book is a story about a little boy who offers a cookie to a precocious visiting mouse, which sets off a chain reaction of events.

When I wake up in the morning, sit on the couch, and read the newspaper, my sons, like the mouse in the Numeroff story, decide they want milk. When I try to ignore them, it gets difficult to concentrate on the newspaper in front of me because both boys sit two inches from my face and repeat, “I want milk” no less than twenty times without taking a breath. So I get up and walk toward the kitchen.

On my way, I notice that the man of the house has, once again, mistaken the couch for a clothes hamper, and I pick his shirts off the cushions and arms of the sofa and head into the bedroom to drop them in their proper place.

When I see our hamper spilling over with clothes, I’m reminded that I need to do laundry, so I walk to the washroom to get a basket for our dirty clothes. At the door of the utility room, which is in the boys’ bathroom, I notice my little Hansels have left me a path of clothes, instead of pebbles, that lead from just outside the door to the bathtub. I pick up shoes, socks, pants, shirts, and, finally, underwear and then walk into the boys bedroom to deposit their clothes in baskets, and I notice that their beds are unmade.

I start to straightened up, and as I pull off the linens from the mattresses, I notice a pile of superheroes at the foot of each bed, so I collect all the action figures and walk to the playroom to drop them in a toy box.

When the boys see me walk by, they ask for their milk. I set the toys on the floor in the living room and walk into the kitchen once again. I search inside the cabinets for two plastic cups. I don’t find any because every plastic cup we own is either dirty and sitting inside the kitchen sink or lost in back of the station wagon.

As I open the dishwasher to load the dirty dishes, I find clean dishes inside. When the boys ask for milk again, in a panic, I root out two plastic bowls. The bowls are tall enough to pass as cups and, more importantly, are clean.

I open the refrigerator to get the milk and am slapped with an odor similar to what a dead armadillo smells like after lying on Highway 79 for a week during a Central Texas summer.

I find what looks like molded armadillo inside a plastic container and set it on the counter, because the boys are still screaming for their milk. I pour the milk into the clean bowls and take them to my sons who have wadded up the newspaper I was reading into small balls.

I hand them both their milk and the oldest says, “Uh, Mama, these are bowls, not cups.”

“Look what you’ve done to my newspaper!”  I bark then add, “Pretend you’re a dog.”

For the first time ever, this child does as he’s told and he laps up his milk with all the neatness of a puppy getting a bath. His younger brother, never one to miss an opportunity to act like a canine, follows suit. They drench their pajamas and the crumpled newspaper I had started to read.

So I sit down and take stock of my meandering. I realize that I won’t read the newspaper this morning, I haven’t washed our clothes, or made the boys’ beds, or picked up the toys off the floor, or emptied the dishwasher, or cleaned the kitchen sink. And like the boy in Numeroff’s book, I’m exhausted. I try to figure out why nothing got done this morning, and I’m baffled because I know I’ve been busy and can’t figure out why my house smells like a dead armadillo.

QUESTION and CHALLENGE: Do you motherander? We want to hear your funniest example in the comments below!


Milk image:

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