Thursday, June 5, 2008

order and chaos

About a year ago Sam started crawling, and with that milestone our home became a little matchbox of chaos. When he started pulling himself up onto furniture, the house ceased once and for all being the charming domain of adults, and became a realm of babygates, strategically propped pillows, strewn toys and weirdly half-clear table surfaces. Our sharp-edged coffee table was moved to the garage, and the couch was placed in an odd location in the middle of the room so as to block off the potentially deadly antique lawyers bookshelf and equally rickety antique buffet. Eventually my desk and computer were crammed into our bedroom, where eight pieces of furniture line the walls with no space between them. In the kitchen, we blocked off the open pantry shelves such that I have to move two chairs in order to reach the pasta. Table surfaces had to be clear the length of Sam's reach, so everything on them, like mail, books, coasters, diaperbag, and camera, was deposited in a messy pile at one end. Even with all this babyproofing, Sam got into everything. If there was a hole in our armor, he would find it. Reaching through the gate and around the pillows to fiddle with the stereo buttons, crawling under the table and two chairs to pull out all the cookbooks, squeezing between the wall and the coat-rack causing it to tip over, finding the one envelope poking out from the pile and using its leverage to drag the entire stack off the edge...and on and on. Going to other people's homes, even those with kids the same age, was always dicey. Sam was particularly curious, and therefore prone to cause chaos.

Dare I say it: I have recently become aware of a new trend towards order. Sam puts his cup back on the table instead of flinging it willynilly. If it tips, he rights it. He finds my shoes by the couch and moves them to their proper spot by the front door. After pulling out a book from his bookshelf, he puts it back, and if the spine is not facing out, he turns it the right way. I leave the diaperbag out on a chair, and it is entirely possible that it will not be immediately targeted and rifled through. He plays with the lipbalm I keep on my bedside table, and instead of finding it in a random drawer or under the sheets, I find it back where it belongs. Every day after dinner I wipe off Sam's hands and face with a washcloth and then carry it to the laundry basket on our way to the bathtub. The other day Sam picked up his dirty washcloth himself and carried it directly to the laundry basket in his room. Without being asked. Don't get me wrong, there is no ocd going on here; there is still plenty of mindless dropping, flinging, and misplacing, and our house is by no means orderly. But something has happened to my little whirlwind of chaos, and I like it. I am taking full advantage. We are working on picking up toys, putting away dirty clothes, and dusting mommy's knickknacks. Ok, not the last one, not yet.

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