Messes & Magic

I found a remnant of blue Play-Doh on my shirt yesterday, and I cannot remember the last time Bee and I played with Play-Doh, and certainly not the blue color. We haven’t had the blue color in tact for quite awhile – months? – because after a long summer, there is no color distinction. It’s mixed and marbled and speckled and dried, kind of like that feeling in your stomach when you’re caught in a lie, or the moment before the champagne pops open. It’s blurry, blobbish, brown. So now, a new parenting development: I need to wash my clothes at the end of every day.

I used to not have to do this. I’d wash my clothes like, every 2-3 wears, and would rely heavily on this organic alcohol laundress spray that probably doesn’t really do the trick but makes me feel as if I’m being proactively clean, in the lazy sense. Proactively Clean In The Lazy Sense should be a poster, or a movement, maybe. Probably a movement.

But. Now I’m mothering a toddler, just like that. And my clothing is a magnet for gross. My tees are diaries to collect the day’s events: playground mulch, banana mush, things-that-cannot(should-not)-be-identified. I could host a gallery curation with the amount of “mixed media” that exists between each thread of my daily attire. It is insanity.

I didn’t think this would be a part of parenting I’d love, the messiness. For the record, I don’t necessarily crave cleanliness, but I do crave order. The kind of order where shoes do not wind up in the toilet and carrot sticks are not in the dryer lint trap. But for some reason, I’m kind of into this. I don’t know, maybe I’m a masochist. Maybe toddler messes justify my lazy tendencies to throw my hands in the air and shake my head and leave the mess for tomorrow as I go drown my sorrow in another Orange is the New Black episode.


Or maybe it’s that right this moment – in a quiet office with the wind blowing slightly – as I survey the mess around me, it feels vibrant. Like a summer parade on the streets of New York city – a mix of colors and patterns and textures all scattered together, blurring into a gigantic mess. We’re lively and buoyant, mismatched balloons bundled together with string.

And every parade leaves a mess behind, doesn’t it? It’s nothing more than leftover magic.

  • Oh, so true! Black always has snot, white always picks up the berry stains, but a lot blends into brown. I find, too, that I forget to wash his little jackets until I notice a smear of something mysterious inside the hood, or what looks like a week’s worth of chalk dust on the front, or that tell-tale trail of smudges and smears and blobs that blend in on the grey waaay too easily. By the way, don’t feed your toddler cinnamon toast crunch on an airplane unless you want to find sugar crystals everywhere. On both of you…

  • leftover magic… that’s so beautiful. And its oh so recognizable! A lot of the time my dress is already smeared before leaving to work! oh, yeah, well, so be it.

Comments are closed.