Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mythbuster: Mess, what mess?

Homes are notoriously transformed from tidy pads into Sargasso Seas of toys, pampers clean and used, how-to books and all the detritus of parenting once there has been an addition to the family. Thus runs the conventional wisdom, anyway, and Heaven knows there's truth to it. But before neatfreak parents-to-be run out wailing in despair, we should reveal that there are ways in which Sonny's arrival - almost exactly seven months ago now - has actually upped the hygiene factor in our little abode. Here are five:

(1) Clean surfaces: We always tried to fire up the vacuum cleaner every few weeks or so, and Mum would occasionally receive a message from above and decide to wipe down surfaces. In just this last week, however, she's hoovered the place three times. It's all thanks to Sonny's unstoppable urge to crawl everywhere, and Mum's determination that he shouldn't be dirtying his hands and every other part of his body as he pulls himself along on his explorations. So there's actually less dust about than before the little fella's advent.

(2) Clean clothes: Our clothes usually sat unlaundered for up to a week while we waited for the pile to get high enough to warrant switching on the washing machine. Sonny, however, is a force of nature when it comes to drooling on shirts, soiling shorts and otherwise single-handedly creating a load of wash-soon-please garb. We add our own items on the mix and suddenly our washer and dryer are getting three workouts a week.

(3) Clean home paraphernalia: It's a bit of a grab-bag, this, but our cushions and fans have all been transformed by the little fella's magic touch. By which we mean that we really couldn't have his eager, questing hands get all grubby as they grip our tower fans, chair legs or curtains (well, the curtains are the next project). So Mum's been busy with a wet cloth. Meanwhile, the little fella's penchant for contributing a portion of his just-imbibed milk to the immediate surroundings means the cushion covers are being regularly changed.

(4) Clean study: We used to have a cosy study where Pa would retire to a comfortable chair, laptop and worktable. There would be books strewn about and dust gathered accordingly. Then Sonny arrived, the study became the baby room and suddenly the computer has a shrunken space in the hall, atop a side table. The original worktable has become the depository for packs of wipes, baby supplies and creams. Once a day, it hosts Sonny's little tub for a bath. A spare bed has found its place in the room too, for changing the little fella. The net result is that the room once known as the study is now kept cleaner than before on account of its more sensitive infant-related role.

(5) Clean guest room: Further to (4), the guest room is now less cluttered since one bed has been redeployed for baby duties. The space freed up means the room is more easily maintained too.