Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Just spent twenty minutes using my car key to jimmy pretzel sticks and smushed raisins out of that narrow crack between the bottom of the car window and the passenger door.

This was after Hoover-ing the backseat floor with the DustBuster, sucking up ground Pepperidge Farm Goldfish (did you know they now come in colors? I'm serious. There are green, red and purple Pepperidge Farm Goldfish). The mini vacuum also sucked up discarded Pirate Booty, more pretzel sticks, the clear wrappers for plastic straws that come with vanilla soy milk boxes, and the odd miniature rubber tire from a Matchbox car.

By rights I oughtta be cleaning out the backseat floor and area around the car seats every other day. But because life has more pressing concerns, I wind up doing it oh, say, once a fiscal quarter.

The one saving grace of the car's interior upholstery is that it's leather, so when the kids spill liquid on the seats, I'm able to mop it up without mold setting in. The carpeting, well, that's another matter entirely. I've been known to utilize Nature's Miracle there, a potent potion concocted for the sole purpose of neutralizing cat urine. Clearly the makers of Nature's Miracle are missing their ancillary market: the parents of toddlers.

But lest I think I have it bad, my friend Jenine, mother of three kids -- one set of twin toddlers among them -- tops me with this recent correspondence (hope you don't mind my stealing this for the blog, Jenine):

"What price would you put on a plastic
Tyrannosaurus Rex toy? 25 cents? One dollar? How about $209.58?
This 4- inch toy is the most expensive toy we own. Two hundred nine dollars and fifty eight plumbing repairs. It seems that someone in this house likes to stuff things into holes. I'm not pointing fingers, but my guess is N. (The twin boy). Apparently he thought that the toilet would be a good place for this prehistoric monster to live. Or maybe he just thought the dino might like to swim. In any case the thing got lodged in our toilet. Of course it had to happen after unloading a particularly nasty mess into the toilet that R. (the twin girl) made in the bathtub. Eww! Cleaned that up, flushed, and voila, toilet overflow! It took the visit of two different plumbers to get it out. The first one tried to get us to buy a new toilet! At first we thought maybe it was a clog of diaper wipes used when R. decided to unload the contents of her diaper to use as "food" in her play kitchen. But no, it was just one plastic toy living a goldfish's nightmare. The toilet isn't N.'s only target. He really loves to remove the heat registers and put things down into the vent. It took me 3 days to find the TV remote and a good 2 hours to fish it out with plastic straws and packing tape. I wonder if my calculator is down there too? So that's life with twin toddlers. When I'm not clamping my jaws with displeasure I'm laughing until my sides split."

I can't speak for Jenine, but when my toddlers are not creating a general nuisance by trashing a car's interior or gumming up plumbing, they do so by misplacing things.

Case in point: Monday night, before bed, we must've spent fifteen minutes in search of the twin stuffed duckies Thing 2 cannot sleep without. They were discovered in the hamper, where she had dumped them while changing out of school clothes and into her nightgown. She was no help finding them, as she'd forgotten she'd dumped them there (or put on a pretty good act of forgetting, so as to further delay bedtime and watch as mommy, daddy, and an old friend from NYC who was over for dinner, searched the entire place repeatedly with the urgency of the Gestapo in a W.W. II movie looking for escaped P.O.W.s).

This summer, just before we left for the airport and a flight to NYC, Thing 1 lost his binky somewhere in our building lobby, never to be found again, and we were forced to break into the emergency binky stash. Thank goodness we had a spare.

I shudder to think how many hours of my life have already been frittered away searching for things they've put where they shouldn't, or cleaning up a mess so spectacular even the Bush administration can't take credit for it.

Yes, I love them. Yes, I wouldn't replace them. But would it hurt them to put the expensive organic raisins in their mouths and not down the car window crack?

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