Back to Back Cheese.

Friday morning I sat down on the living room floor with the intention of folding the laundry. Gabby followed me and plopped her precious little butt right next to me on the ground.
“Would you like to help mommy fold the clothes?” I asked.
“Yes!” she said with a little twinkle in her eye.
“Ok, you get all of the socks and put them in a pile, ok?”
Well, that’s not what happened. She grabbed a sock and threw it. Then she picked up another one and threw it.
And another one.
And another one.
My first reaction was to tell her to stop because she was making a mess and mommy didn’t need any more messes to clean up!
But, I didn’t tell her to stop. Instead, I grabbed a handful of the laundry and threw it at her.
She started laughing.
Then she grabbed a handful of laundry and threw it at me.
We both started laughing.
Laundry Fight! Laundry Fight!
At one point, a sock landed on her had and she started laughing uncontrollably. I started laughing uncontrollably and we both had tears streaming down our faces from laughing so damn hard.
Our little laundry fight only lasted a few minutes and we found ourselves worn out from all of the laughing and tossing of clothing.
As we lay on top of a pile of socks and t-shirts, I looked over at my daughter who had a smile from ear to ear. She was so happy.
And so was I.
Such a simple little moment had provided the both of us with so much joy.
That moment almost didn’t happen because I didn’t want “another mess.” I almost told my daughter “No! Don’t throw the clothes!” Because that’s what my first reaction usually is…
To say “no.”
To say “not right now.”
To say “later.”
To say “don’t’ make a mess!”
To say “Mommy’s too busy.”
I remember a commercial that was on TV a few years ago. It was a little boy who had got the cereal down and taken the milk out and poured himself a bowl of cereal under the kitchen sink. He made a mess everywhere. When the mom came in and saw what he had done, she looked at him and smiled.
I remember thinking. “Oh HELLS NO.”
If I walked into the kitchen to find my little toddler had made herself a bowl of cereal, my first reaction would not be “Aw, how cute, she made herself a bowl of cereal.”
It would be “ah. OMG! Why didn’t you just tell mommy you were hungry? YOU MADE A MESS EVERYWHERE AND I JUST MOPPED THE FLOOR!”
I can’t tell you how many times my kids have wanted to help with something and I’ve told them no because I knew that them helping meant more mess for me to clean up.
And it makes me sad that I’ve been that way. It makes me sad that I’ve denied my children and myself “Little Moments” because I didn’t want to deal with a little mess.
It wasn’t easy for me to be all “To hell with it, let her throw the socks!” Everything inside of me was screaming “don’t throw the socks! You’re making a mess!”
But I kept hearing this little voice say “Don’t sweat the small stuff. Just enjoy the moment.”
(Again with the Voices In My Head. They’re really starting to get on my nerves.)
And so I gave into the moment and had a little fun.
The truth of the matter is that the mess I was so worried about took 5 minutes to clean up but the memories that I made with my daughter in that pile of clean socks and t-shirts will last for the rest of my life.


35 thoughts on “Back to Back Cheese.

  1. geeky

    see, that right there is one of the reasons i don’t think i would make a good parent. i’m far much of a neat (and control) freak to enjoy throwing clothes all over. but your post makes me think maybe i could get past it?

  2. Flutterby

    Beautiful. I had to delurk…
    I can so relate… I think many Mom’s can relate.
    I’ve been reading a book “Parenting with Fire” and the author makes an exquisite point about how the Miracle of children is that they allow us to transport ourselves back to a time of innocence and pure pleasure. Times like what you experienced with Gabby.
    A good challenge for all of us Moms to allow those moments to happen. Not only for our own good, but so that we don’t steal away our own children’s experiences of that beautiful state of childhood where there is joy in thrown laundry and the company of a beloved parent.

  3. Velma

    I love this, and try to live that way myself. And that is why I never invite people over to my house, because of all the laundry fights. Heh.

  4. Y

    Actually, we all play the guitar (well, except for Gabby) but Tony and the boys are the only ones who are really good at it. I know the basic chords, but that’s pretty much it.

  5. chickadee

    Very sweet. I don’t have kids yet, but I cherish the memories of my parents getting down and being silly and kidlike with me. So, good for you for enjoying that moment – but don’t beat yourself up too much for those other moments where you went “Oh HELLS no.” As long as there’s a happy medium – I’m sure the laundry fights and smiles are what your kids will remember.

  6. Laurie

    Dood. You did the RIGHT thing. I mean… yeah… letting her throw the laundry and stuff, but better than that… YOU TOOK A PICTURE! Stick it in a scrapbook and all she’ll remember is, “Man… my mom was so cool. I totally remember the time we threw laundry all over the house!” I have a pic of my littlest one with blue marker all over himself. I can’t tell you how many times I hollered at all of them for doing stuff like that, but all they SEE is the PROOF that I let them!
    Well DONE!

  7. dana michelle

    This is a great story, and beautifully written. You so totally need to be published, Y. As in a syndicated column or something.
    Thanks for letting a “non-parent” share in your joyful moment with your daughter.
    P.S. Looks like she’s inherited her sense of humor from your side 🙂

  8. chris

    Awesome! I let my two year old crack all the eggs for dinner last night.
    And you are right, at first when I saw him doing it I was going to say no and take it away. But then I thought why bother it is so funny that I made a video of it instead.
    That way when he grows up and is in therapy I will have photographic evidence that I did some things right 😉

  9. dee

    As others have said, that is a great moment that you will indeed cherish. To me, it is a reminder to loosen up and just let life happen sometimes. I cringe when my son starts making messes. I guess sometimes I just need to roll with it. Thanks for posting this!

  10. ishouldbeworking

    Yay for cheese! One of my fave pics of my daughter is when she was about 18 months old and got into the bottom drawer of her dresser and scattered the clothes all over – minutes after I had picked up….she’s 6 wks away from being a teenager and that’s one memory that stands out.

  11. Jessica

    That is great. I wish I had gotten a picture of my daughter the time she wrote all over her face, hands, clothes AND the table and a couple of DVDs with a dry erase marker. Yes, I was horrified, but it was hilarious. Way to go for being cool about the great laundry basket upset.

  12. erica

    Thank you so much for sharing 🙂 That is just exactly the kind of moment I hope to share with my son, that my mom didn’t feel comfortable sharing with me because she worried about not making messes.

  13. Kathy

    You always have to go and balawwwwwg something sweet like this that makes me weepy and want to kick you square in the camle to. But then I want to hug you because you just reminded me to take advantage of those little moments with my kid.
    WHORE! 😉

  14. Amy the Mom

    Wow. You have the most incredible gift for retelling these stories. You never come across as contrived or sappy, you’re just so genuine. As always, I am in awe.

  15. Stacie

    Yup, crying here too. I can’t tell you the number of times that I should have let them do something child-like and fun but denied them. I wish I were a mom that could “go with the flow” and let her children experience the little joys of life. I’m trying…I’m trying! OH, and Kathy’s comment made me friggin’ LMFAO!!!!

  16. Jessica

    I really, truly relate to this post. The other day my three year old wanted to take all the spoons out of the silverware drawer because he wanted to count them. I didn’t want him to do this…because i knew I’d have to put them back in the dishwasher where they had just been in the morning. Then I realized…so what. If counting some spoons on the kitchen floor makes him happy and content for ten minutes, why the hell not? So I let him. And everything was fine.

  17. Danielle

    Y, I so think that we should be neighbors. Seriously. Please move to the hell hole of the south that I am currently in. PLEASE!
    Yesterday we were at Target and I decided to try on the giant Easter Bunny costume while Mr. Husband wasn’t around. These are the moments that will last forever. At least I hope so.

  18. marjorie

    When my oldest daughter was around 3 years old, she loved “helping” me wash the dishes in the sink. Mainly she just loved playing with water. She would stand on a chair and wash things and the water would dribble off the dishcloth onto the floor. I would sort of hover around, quietly mopping the floor and countertop. I don’t think she remembers doing this but I sure do, and although she made a bit of a mess, I never stopped her. I’m so glad I let her do it. Later, I also let her and her little sister make muffins, while I left the kitchen. (I got all the ingredients ready and they just had to mix everything up and then call me to put them in the oven.)Yes, a little mess was made but messes can be cleaned up. And memories are made.

  19. BOSSY

    The other day Bossy’s ten-year-old daughter wandered into Bossy’s office and succinctly asked Bossy a question, but this was all she heard over the din of her own idiot work, “Whaahs sjoek ajdk0kke pooee?”
    Bossy said “No, honey, I’m really busy right now.”
    And so Bossy’s daughter turned to the door and cheerfully said, “That’s OK – I’ll read you my poem another time.”
    At which point Bossy stabbed herself in the throat and died of bad parenting. The end.

  20. Annika

    I thought about this post while Sam and I put away the laundry today. Sam likes to pick up each and every item and throw it behind him, either onto the floor or onto the bed (I try to arrange it so it’s the bed). He especially likes to do this with clothing I’ve already folded. Today I enjoyed it extra, thinking about you and Gabby.

  21. carolyn

    Oooh! Thank you! I’ve got to do this too, and now I will remember the next time I open my mouth to say those things too! Wheee!

  22. Tammy

    Wow. I can totally relate to what you’ve written. That was a wonderful thing you did – what a great memory you made. AND you’ve got a picture to remember it by! That rocks.
    So often I need reminders that a happy child is more important than a spotless house. But sometimes it’s hard to fight off those “Don’t do that!” thoughts…
    Great post.

  23. jeanie

    It really takes a conscious effort, doesn’t it, to turn off the “Mummy” switch and tune in to the kid switch. I must try to do so more often.

  24. JesseeezMom

    Loooved the post!!
    But my guess is you said “just THROW the socks in pile” and all she heard was “woo hoo!! throw the socks!!” My baby is going to be 22 next month and your post brought back memories of when she was 3 and she would make heart shaped pancakes with her Dad with him helping her pour into the shape of a heart and her saying “help me flip it Dad! Help me flip it!” I WISH I had pictures of her in her little Carter’s jammies on weekend mornings!!
    AAAHH the Cheese…. We all LOVE the Cheese!!

  25. Danielle

    I have been in the same place with my three boys. Letting go and not thinking about the mess good fun creates is food for the soul, but I am back at the beginning when cleaning up the aftermath by myself and boy what an aftermath it can be. I just viewed the shrinking woman collection of yours at Flickr. First thought man, you are brave. Second thought you have done so well, so lay off the bean dip you sexy mama.
    Have fun

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