Tara – Mud Happens
 

Author: Tara

The Mud Room: A Must for Families

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I have said many times in this blog that life can be very messy. It doesn’t hurt to repeat it again. If you have a few kids and an athletic husband, you know what I mean. I have a houseful of creatures who don’t know how to take dirty shoes off outside the back door. They apparently think the floor is the washing machine. How do they think these cast-off items get into it? Cleaning up means sweeping crumbs from the dinner table onto the floor. I guess they also think the dog is a garbage disposal (sometimes I agree). Fortunately, I have a mud room and I must tell you that this is a must for every family at all times of the year. While stuff gets littered all over the house all day long, at least the worst things—muddy boots, wet umbrellas and drenched jackets—find their way here. At the least, everyone knows how to hang up a jacket on a hood and shove boots and shoes under the bench.

If you have a laundry room, you can convert part of it by installing a small bench and a few sturdy hooks. If there is an appliance closet, take off the door and use this space. My mud room is a nice size as I move the washer and dryer to the basement. We exposed the concrete floor, so the kids can set their shoes down without creating a mess to mop up. Things are always dripping with no ill effects. You can paint concrete to make it look more presentable. There is a long countertop where everyone can throw backpacks and assorted packages. Inevitable, they are all in a hurry to do something else and they return to the mud room later to retrieve their items.

The coup de grace for this marvelous mud room is a new outdoor ceiling fan my husband installed to circulate the dank air in winter. It also cools everyone off when it is really hot outside, so they don’t sweat allover the carpet. It is a great utilitarian object and it looks good to boot. The stained wood blades match the countertop and cabinets above. He got the idea from a friend and put it in as a surprise. I was more than happy to see this addition. My mud room is now complete. There is nothing lacking. We even have a small minifridge to the family can grab a bottle of water or soft drink on their way outside.

I wish I had a floor plan for a mud room to share with you or at least a photo of how to lay one out for most efficient us and storage. I suppose, like anything else, you can find this online. Don’t worry about the size because even a small space will do as long as the room is strategically placed by the back door, just off the kitchen.

Camping Trip Aftermath

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We couldn’t wait another minute. Our annual family weekend camping trip was coming soon and we all rushed to get ready. The kids love packing. Each has a special over-sized backpack just for outdoor adventures. They do it weeks in advance in case they need to replace an item. Here is what they line up and survey in preparation for the big day,

  • Tee shirts (extra because they get wet and dirty)
  • Shorts if it is cold and jeans if it is a bit chilly at night
  • Flashlight and extra batteries (sure mom and dad bring them, but we like to turn them on sitting around the campfire and pretend we are signaling aliens in outer space)
  • Towel in case we swim in the creek. Flip flops to protect feet while swimming
  • Handi-wipes are a must and plenty of them
  • Music, music, and more music
  • A harmonica, guitar, tambourine, or maracas—whatever we can play
  • Cookies, chips, snacks to share with fellow campers
  • Ice cooler filled with assorted beverages
  • Food to cook over the campfire. No, we don’t catch fish
  • First aid kit filled with band-aids
  • Sandals, sneakers, socks, etc.
  • Napkins
  • Candy bars or the makings for s’mores
  • Sleeping bags and extra blankets

The family had a great time on the camping trip. Because we plan so well, everything was perfect. Nothing was forgotten. We enjoyed singing by the fire at night, sleeping in cozy bags as close as we could get and be safe. Plus there were plenty of photos to share on Facebook when we got back. The weather was pleasant, which made a huge difference. We ate, sang, swam, talked, played “instruments,” talked with other campers, and bonded like mad. We should do it more often. There is only one problem… the aftermath.

As you might expect, you take home with you a giant pile of laundry, the task of removing the lingering smoke smell in the car, kids who want to keep living like they are out in the wilderness…and more. It takes time to adjust to normal life, whatever that is. Despite the filthy sleeping bags (also reeking of smoke), they insist on a few nights sleeping in the backyard even if you can’t see the stars. Mom has to take care of everything like making sandwiches and chilling the sodas. While everyone is playing camper, she is cleaning up. After six loads of laundry, the car must be hosed down. A power washer takes care of this job but it doesn’t work for the interior. How do you get stale campfire smoke out of the nooks and crannies. Any tips?

Here is what I learned. You open all the windows and pray for a breeze. You light a few matches as you sit ensconced in the back seat. A final effort comes from a couple of spritzes from the Febreze deodorant spray bottle. Wait a day and do it all again. If it doesn’t work, take it to the pros at the car wash.

Making a Healthy Change

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Kids love boxed juice with built in straw. They carry around these cavity-making sweet drinks all day long. It is enough to make a mother crazy. I know it isn’t good for them but all their friends indulge and they get them at school. How do I stop it on my own? I want my family to drink more water, the fluid of life. It is a good habit and it isn’t happening to my satisfaction. The kids say the tap water tastes weird and looks funny. They say there are crawly things in it. As if they could see an amoeba! “Mom,” they cry, “the water smells like rotten eggs.” I don’t believe it until I taste it. But, alas, there is a remedy. One is expensive bottled water, but my husband and I agreed that we had to cutback somewhere on the growing food bill or the entertainment budget will be cut. No one wants that.

It is time for the ultimate solution: a whole house water filtering system from https://www.homewaterhealth.com/. They come in various types, are economical and easy to install, and require no on-going maintenance. I don’t relish adding a softener or any other type of alien element. You no longer have to. It is all efficient and automatic. I prefer the reverse osmosis process that uses a membrane so eliminate pollutants, toxins, chemicals, and any creepy crawly things. The kids are fascinated but skeptical. Time will tell.

Regardless of the cost, a small dent in the budget, I do think it is a good investment if we all drink more water. I will make a game out of it. We can count the glasses we drink and give a prize to the winner. Our goal is at least eight for the adults and five for the kids. I think this is reasonable. What do you think? I can also flavor the water with sugar-free fruit according to their preferences. My husband likes lemon or cucumber in his. It helps everyone guzzle down more. They don’t get bored with the variety. I explain to the children about the sugar in their box juice and what happens to little teeth. After showing a few horrid photos on the computer, the got the message loud and clear. They all hate going to the dentist. They live in great fear of that huge “needle.”

This approach could work also on cookies, cakes, and candy bars. However, I love to bake and don’t want to go too far—just a reduction in quantity now and then so mom can still do her thing. Here has been a bonus to my baking. The filtered water I use for cooking from the kitchen tap makes the goodies taste better. Now there is a good reason to install your own system. It may have the reverse effect of encouraging more dessert consumption. So out come the dental photos once again. Ha!

Outdoors is Even More Fun!

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Every once in a while, my husband gets it in his head to do something around the house and/or yard. He is Mr. Fixit when he wants to be. What wife would complain about that! Not me. I love when he repairs a broken lamp, turns the sagging mattress, regrouts the moldy master bath tub, or plants a new tree. He gets one dimensional about his project until it is finished. Then I ask him, “what next?”

I often have to clean up the mess of his many undertakings, but I am used to it having raised many children—four to be specific. When you have three boys, the house is always in a state of untidiness. No one picks up after himself, only my young lady. It is up to mom, of course, to take care of the men. I let things be so I don’t nag constantly and destroy the joy of the household. It pays not to be afraid of a little dirt and grime. I would rather have that minor annoyance than sullen children. When they play sports, their clothes are beyond imagination. Every day the washer and dryer are taxed to the breaking point.

Now that he has spent a few weeks surveying the tasks in the house, my husband is focusing his attention on the yard. I don’t mean mowing the lawn or planting flowers either. I am not referring to raking leaves or fertilizing the trees. I am not even considering repaving the driveway or building garage shelves. He has something bigger in mind. My husband is a bit of a tech guy and has been espousing the key benefits of an an outdoor speaker system for some time – completely waterproof and weather resistant. All the kids love blaring music and he is the biggest one of them all. Sure, each family member can play what they want in the house, but it is so much better outside. Life is like a party at my house and everyone wants it to take place in the yard where they can run wild.

At first I balked at the speaker system feeling that it was a total waste of time. They would use it once or twice and be done with it—bored to death. Not so. It turned out to be a brilliant idea that motivated the family to get together and enjoy common ground—pop music. I am sorry I waited so long to get on board. I will not judge his next project before I know what is involved. Meanwhile, I have learned how to turn on the speakers and adjust the volume. I can count on good quality of sound no matter what type of music I want to play. Mom has some free time and you will find her in the yard, reclining on a lounge chair sipping iced tea. No need for earbuds that continually fall out. She has a remote control in her hand and guess what it is for?

Our Bedtime Rules

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I don’t profess to be an expert, but then I do have several children. There are certain things about childrearing that I know and can share. Hence this blog. Kids need discipline and correction. Nothing too strict, but clearly delineated rules. I am not one of the free-spirited moms who says anything goes. You are asking for trouble as the kids get older. They whine and cry if they don’t get their way. To avoid this, you start day one with your particular agenda. It can include not eating between meals, no candy without asking mom, no swimming without an adult present, everyone shares toys, pick up your clothes and if soiled, put them in a hamper. As times go on, I add finish your homework right before dinner, don’t play in the street, don’t hit friends, never bully any child, and listen to your teacher. I say these rules so often that I don’t need to write them down like some parents who use a blackboard in the kitchen. Not a bad idea, really.

Where I do get really serious is with the kids’ bedroom routine. I read about this here when I was first pregnant and have followed an established program that everyone says works like a charm. Everything is done the same way each night and at the same time without fail, even if we are on vacation. There is no argument this way and it helps minimize morning chaos and, above all, ensures a good night’s rest for all. Despite complaints about watching more TV, listening to more music, one last chance with their favorite toy or playing with my cell phone, the children learn what is best for them. It is instinctive. After a few tired and groggy mornings, they get the reasoning behind the rules. They know that without good sleep, they don’t enjoy playing the next day.

It is easier with your older children and, by all means, use them as role models for their younger siblings. In fact, let them convey the rules themselves. I hear them recite them in a mockery of my voice: go to the bathroom before getting into bed, only one story and its sleepy time, brush your teeth and wash your hands, etc. It is a litany of parental regulation and I love it. In fact, sometimes the little ones invent their own rules and boss the older kids. It makes me laugh out loud.

“Don’t take my pillow and mess it up.”

“Leave my teddy alone.”

“Don’t poke me to see if I am asleep.”

“Don’t sneak in the kitchen and eat my cookies.”

“Look under the bed and see if there is a monster.”

“Close the window. It’s cold.”

Bedtime is fun for every parent because the kids are so adorable in their pjs all snuggled up in their blankets. With assorted stuffed animals scattered about the bed, they look like story book characters.

How My Floors Survive 4 Children

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Why not let your kids have fun? If it means being messy, then so be it. It is worth it to see those happy little faces. My four kids frolic about, play in the rain (mud happens), roll in the grass (oh, those stains), and strew their toys everywhere. I just leave them. Can you imagine cleaning them up every day? If they get in the mood, I love it when they stow them in the baskets I have designated. I do have some order and actually establish some limited rules. This is how I survive a home with four messy tots. Plus, my method not only works for me but it makes for happier and healthier young ones.

If you are too strict, the children will not enjoy their playtime and their friends won’t enjoy coming over. My kids have a lot of playdates, no doubt because their parents want the mess in my house. Ha! When enough is enough, I bring out the milk and cookies – another great survival tactic. Watching TV, playing video games, and staring at a cell phone are not part of the plan. You can do arts and crafts, read together, and anything you can think of. When you have offspring, you must be creative.

I don’t expect to spend my days cleaning and vacuuming. It is necessary sometimes, however. Then the Bissell carpet steamer comes out. If that is too onerous, I just let the Hoover upright do the floors. I won’t have to get on my hands and knees, except to play with the kids. That is fun! I like building things with Legos, their favorite blocks. We do puzzles on the carpet and sort the playing cards. They also like to make imaginary castles, schoolrooms, mazes, and forts. It is all on bended knee.

Having a good vacuum and steamer helps a lot when it comes to maintaining a neat and clean home. I never let the fuss and muss get in the way of good health. If you invest in quality appliances, the job practically does itself. I spent time researching when I was buying, and this web page helped me choose: https://www.thevacuumchallenge.com/bissell-vs-hoover-battle-stick-garage-vacuum-options/. Then a little dusting, a stab at the dishes, a laundry load or two, and a touch of cleanser in the bathroom, and I am done. It’s back to feeding, bathing, playing, and loving.

Being a mother is a great joy. It involves everything that is good in life. Why do so many housewives complain? The modern appliances available are a boon to those with limited time. I have been touting the vacuum and steamer, but I want to give a big shout out for the toaster oven, coffeemaker, ice cream machine, mixer, blender, washer and dryer set, and grill. I have it all in place to raise the kids efficiently and effectively. It is a fiesta of technology in my house. Everything is new and up to date and always the latest thing. So, how do you survive?

Have an Outdoor Play Party

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There are a lot of things I love about when the weather gets nicer. The longer days, blooming flowers, bird songs and butterflies,the lack of a schedule in the summer. Sure, I still have all my regular chores and responsibilities, but it’s nice to chuck all that every once in a while and just enjoy the kids. They’re only going to be this age once and all that.

It’s very tempting to throw an electronic device at them and say, “Knock yourself out” while you do the things that you have to get done. I know—I’ve been that person. Of course, I am speaking from experience here. I’ll be totally honest that there are times that I’ve been tempted. Sometimes I have even succumbed and used the electronic babysitter on occasion. I am only one person, and I am the mother of four. So you’ll find no judgement here.

Those lazy summer days that seem so great sometimes can also be torture when all I want to do is sit and eat the peanut butter sandwich I made for lunch without having to get up seventeen times. Or after we’ve had several rainy days in a row. Or simply just 17 seemingly neverending summer days in a row.

Really, though—you know you get tired of telling your kids to stop jumping on furniture and running around like crazy. It happens every weekend, repeatedly on snow days, and during the summer around here. If your house is anything like mine, then you should do what I do: let them go outside and run around. There’s way less stuff for them to break out there.

I don’t care if it is a game of frisbee or blowing some bubbles. Just being outside together can be a great experience. I’m sure that some of your best childhood memories involved grass stains on your clothes or some dirt on your hands. My kids love doing a catch-and-release of fireflies. They also will run like crazy through the sprinklers on a hot summer day—so I’m watering the lawn AND wearing them out. That’s what I call a win-win.

We call them ‘play parties.’ First of all, I’ve learned that giving these sorts of things creative titles makes things more appealing to my little ones. Secondly, it means unstructured fun time, which we’ve all heard is beneficial to child development. Third, it means one less thing for you to plan. Let the kids decide amongst themselves what they’re going to do, and then let them do it. I learn a lot about my kids from listening to all their ideas and watching the games they create.

So let them loose in the yard or at a park. Let them take the lead and just go with it. It’s a party, after all.

So. Many. Showers.

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When you have kids (boys in particular) you get used to a lot of cleaning. There are dirty clothes, personal items to pick up, and, of course, all those hot showers. It seems endless – one after the other. How long is our tankless water heater going to last? My life is full of mud, mud, and more mud. Ha! It is actually fairly new so I would say years and years. After all, the old style lived on and on for nearly an eternity until the tank rusted over. Remember when they used to poop out and you thought it was the pilot light. Then you got the bad news. When we did, we opted immediately for the new modern method. That is what innovation is all about. It should change your life in some manner whether it is a new stove, refrigerator, vacuum cleaner, or pressure washer. Mom has so much to do and needs a little help; and it comes from our handy appliances.

I love the idea of the new unit because it makes you feel as if you were doing something for the environment. It saves water and energy right from the start according to https://www.waterheaterwatch.com/best-tankless-water-heater-reviews/. While a tankless system may cost a bit more and involves some expense during installation, it pays for itself in no time at all. I noticed right away that our utility bills had improved. They used to go up continually until we got smart. I did check the longevity as it was a concern? And would there be considerable repairs with the new technology. So far, so good. The record is clear: the tankless is economical, efficient, money saving, and green. These models have been around a long time and people love the compact appearance and how easy they are to mount on a wall. They take up less space than the old metal monsters leaving you extra room for storage. What mom doesn’t want that!

When you have a large family and one involved in athletics and various outdoor endeavors (like washing the car, gardening, cleaning the garage, and planting the garden), you worry about running out of hot water. You pray that everyone can get their morning shower. I used to ask everyone to take turns with a morning and night schedule. Now I don’t have to. The tankless system, if you choose the right size, will service everyone without fail. You don’t even think about how much water is stored as this is no tank. Don’t you love it? Endless hot water and no complaints.

If you are leery, just check out the vast numbers of reviews and positive testimonials on line and you will change your tune. The only negative is that a tankless system serves one faucet at a time. So, you need a little advanced planning. So what? All the other benefits more than make up for one drawback. Life isn’t perfect.

Raising a Wild Child

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I’ve got one kid who loves following instructions and rules. I’ve got two that respect their elders’ opinions,although it does not mean they obey us all the time. Then I have that one kid that really just does whatever they want.

And that child is my daughter.

I blame it on her dad, because although I love him, he lets her get away with everything. But deep down I know he is not the only culprit. The rest of us are just as guilty, even if we aren’t as obvious as he is about it. I like to think I have some semblance of authority with her, but my parents would probably laugh in my face if they heard me say that. Although they would just as freely admit that they don’t discipline her either.

In other words, I’ve got a wild child.

I love her curious spirit. Always wondering “what would happen if?” or “why is?” She treats her life (and everything around her) a little more like a science experiment than I would like, but I think her inquisitive nature is going to pay off someday. She’s the type of kid that you can believe will invent something amazing or maybe she’s going to figure out some crazy way to do something that is safer for the environment, cheaper, or just more awesome than anything anybody has ever thought of before.

There are some things that I have learned about raising a….spirited…child, and here they are:

  • Life is going to be messier. These are the kids that are going to take stuff apart before they can remember how to put them back together. They’re going to poke things, mix things, and collect things—just because they’re curious about it all. Your job is to encourage responsibility in these matters.
  • They’re going to drive you crazy with their different interests. My daughter has been interested in just about everything already. She goes from ballet to softball to guitar without batting an eye. You have to learn how to get them to follow through without stifling their natural desire to experience everything.
  • Let them make mistakes. It’s hard, as a parent, to watch our kids fall on their faces. But, and this is true for all children, it is the best way for them to learn sometimes. Lessons can be painful, but we discover a lot about ourselves along the way.
  • You’re going to get a lot of pushback. These are the kids that are going to challenge your patience on a regular basis. Unfortunately, since you’re the adult, you have to rise above it. Set a firm line in the sand and then stick to it. Don’t be a pushover.
  • They’re going to fly way before you’re ready to let them. Their curiosity is going to push them to go faster than other kids their age. You have tofind a balance between satisfying their desire to leave the nest and your urge to keep them under your wing.

Good luck. I’m struggling with mine, but I know I wouldn’t change a thing about her even if I could.

Go Outside and Play in the Rain

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One of the rules we have at our house is we don’t let a little rain ruin our plans. Going outside is fun. Spending time playing with the kids and joking around is also fun. So why should a rainstorm stop us from having a good time? There are exceptions, of course. My oldest calls them “baseball rules.” Basically, if a baseball game would continue, we stay outside. If we’re sliding all over and could potentially get hurt, we call it a day. If it gets too cold or too hard to see, we go in. Lightning is a definite game-ender. However, if it’s a light rain—especially during the summer—we aren’t afraid to get a little wet. I just call it common sense.

It all depends on your idea of fun. The kids and I have been known to splash around in puddles or have our own “tough mudder” in the yard. A little bit of a downpour has never stopped us from finishing a soccer match. I believe we even had a badminton tournament once during a drizzle. Sports get a little harder to play the more it rains, so sometimes we’ll just go for a walk or have a puddle stomping contest where we try to get each other as wet as possible.

And rain when we’re camping? Yeah, we’re still out there in the woods. We’ve had to move to higher ground before, but that particular trip was one of the kids’ favorite trips of all time. They still talk about it. And at the very least, it was memorable.

As you can probably imagine, we get a whole lot of use out of our rain gear around here. Probably the kids’ favorite activity when it is raining in the summertime is putting on their bathing suits and rain boots, then playing in the yard. I have pictures of my smallest in nothing but a swim diaper and galoshes chasing his brothers around our yard. The kids all still talk about it. I have a feeling that picture is going to come back to haunt him at some point—what are older siblings for, if not to embarrass you?

When we’re done playing around, it’s time to clean up. If it’s warm enough, I’ll just hose off any mud on the kids before we head inside. In case you haven’t already figured it out, I’m not the kind of person who has plastic on the furniture or a super neat home.

There’s really no reason for you not to let your kids play in the rain on a day when the weather is warm and the risk of lightning is low. If you have a plan for the dirt and wet clothes before you let them loose outside, you should be fine. Just remember: they aren’t just making messes. They’re making memories.

Nature Through the Eyes of My Preschooler

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The big ones didn’t want to go outside today. I don’t always relent and let them stay home, but I just didn’t feel like having that battle with them today. Instead, I just took my littlest man outside to enjoy a beautiful afternoon outdoors after a morning rain.

The first thing we had to stop and marvel at was a line of ants running across a crack in the driveway. Their purposeful little march was completely fascinating to him. I hate ants, so I was much less enthralled, but I tried to remain patient. We talked about what we thought the ants might be doing and where they could be going (it was pretty obvious—they’d made a mount in the driveway crack, but I was ignored when I pointed it out).

Once his curiosity was satisfied, we could move on. Next we had to pick some dandelions from the patch of grass on the other side of the sidewalk from our yard. We also got to meet a very lovely sweat bee, which my son immediately decided was really a very small robot bug. I have to say, they are so cool and unusual with their metallic coloring that I could totally see where he was coming from.

Then we heard a mockingbird doing a very impressive mimic of a car alarm. It flew off a tree at the end of our property, and my son decided he was going to chase after it. Thank goodness he stayed on the sidewalk! He’s getting faster and faster. When I got to the bend in the sidewalk, my little sprinter was waiting for me. He knows he can’t go farther than I can see him. Plus, he had lost sight of the bird.

Next, we found a worm on the sidewalk and my compassionate little guy decided that he wanted to relocate him to a puddle. So we had to find a ‘large enough’ puddle. Do you know how my son tests how large a puddle is? He stomps in them. The bigger the splash, the bigger the puddle. I thought it was a pretty interesting way to take measurements, and told him so.

We had been gone for over an hour at that point, and my son’s hands and pant legs were wet and grimy, so I decided we should head home—mind you, we were only two houses away from where we started from.Plus, I already knew we would have to stop another three or four times on our way back to our front door. There’s always an interesting bug to see, a fun-shaped cloud to point out, a leaf to turn over, or a puddle to stomp.

When we got home, I made him wash his hands and change his pants before he could tell his siblings about what we saw on our little afternoon jaunt. And I think I saw some flashes of jealousy from the big ones. Maybe next time, they’ll actually come!

Today Got a Little Messy

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Things got messy today. I mean, I’ve got four kids. Three of them are boys. Life gets messy here often. I’ve got my own carpet steamer, for goodness sake! I spent at least a few hours a week scrubbing something out of the tile in the entryway and wiping dirty fingerprints off door frames and light switches. It’s just a fact of life here. I spend a lot of my time cleaning this house, and it will never look clean. And every day I will regret the fact that we bought stainless steel appliances. Oh, how dumb were we when we picked those things out?!?

But back to today. The kids and I decided that we were going to make a gift for their grandparents. They opted for painting. That’s normally fine, but the kids wanted to paint garden rocks. Which meant we had to use the real paint and not the water-based paint that makes life tolerable around here. I have this stuff down to a science—we smock up, we spread newspapers, I pour smaller amounts of paint into bowls designated for this very purpose, and I NEVER TURN MY BACK on them. I don’t answer the phone, I don’t take bathroom breaks. I just sit and supervise with a roll of paper towels at the ready.

Folks, I sneezed.

And in the split second my eyes were closed, my youngest slammed his fist onto the table. And flipped one of the bowls right onto his sister. She squealed and jumped in her chair, which moved the chair, banging it into the table. Which made my middle son drop his rock into the bowl of paint he was using, splattering paint all over everything and everyone. And then he started to cry because his rock was ruined. Of course he rubbed his face, forgetting that his hands were covered with paint. So then he had paint all over his face, and my oldest—who was relatively unscathed at that point—decided that this was a cool look, grabbing himself a handful of paint so he could rub it all over his face.

Acrylic paint.

Then the other kids saw him, and monkey see, monkey do. You can probably figure out what happened next. I had what looked like a bunch of superfans at a college football game. Everybody’s face was a crazy smear of paint and their hands were dripping rainbows all over the place. I really just wanted to turn and run screaming out of the house. And really, if you had seen it, you probably would have held the door open for me so I could make my escape.

Instead, I took a very deep breath and said, in my best mom voice: “Everyone put their hands over the newspaper now and don’t move.”

The kids, startled, did exactly as they were told. I made them stay that way while I looked up “how to remove acrylic paint from skin.” If you’re curious, it involves baby oil, which luckily we had. Notice I said “had”. They all have very soft, very shiny faces right now. We also have a new rule—acrylic painting gets done OUTSIDE from now on.

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