March 27, 2014

Things That Spill

If you have a kid, chances are you don't have spotless floors. Maybe it's time to stop seeing the stains as flaws and start seeing them as battle badges, Stacy says.

If you have a kid, you’re going to have some gnarly stuff spilled on your floor. That’s just real life.

Our bright white carpet (not my idea, man – it was here when we bought the house from a nice lady who had cats, but no kids) is spotted all over with stains from juice drips, dog barf and squashed-in Play-Doh. One day we’ll get it replaced, maybe, but we figure there’s no sense it in as long as we have a preschooler in the house.  

But, really, we’ve been pretty lucky. Nora’s made a few memorable spills — white cheddar puffs on our dark purple sofa, a cup of tea (already gone cold, luckily) when she was just learning to crawl — but most of the worst ones in this house have been the grownups’ fault. There was the glass bottle of syrup shattered in the pantry, and, years later, a container of dry rice spilled from the pantry’s top shelf downward. Our best/worst, I think, was spilling a jar of minced garlic inside the refrigerator. Took some doing to clean up, and that fridge stank strongly for quite a while. But we definitely didn’t have any problems with vampires!

But I’m sure some epic kid-spill is waiting. They just can’t help themselves.On Facebook recently, a friend complained about the mess made by large quantities of chocolate syrup being spilled onto a wood floor. Which I thought was pretty awful, until a mutual friend commented about the time her kid dropped a bottle of rubber cement onto the carpet. Whoa.

I think my favorite, though, is a long-ago friend-of-a-friend story I heard about a kid who seized the opportunity, when mom dared to take a quick shower, to find can of red paint in the garage, haul it into the living room, dump most of it onto the carpet and then use the rest to paint the walls and himself. I don’t even know what I’d do if confronted with that. Move?

So I’m practicing gratitude for the clean spots on my carpet — and there are some! The linoleum floor in the kitchen may be outdated, but at least you can wipe even the worst spills right up. When I catch sight of a stain, old or new, I try to see it as a memory. Or a battle badge. Whatever you call it, it’s the official interior decor of a parent. It might not ever grace the cover of a magazine, but it’ll make any other parents who visit feel right at home.

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