Monday, May 07, 2007

Clean Cut

The Boss is meticulous. Could we be any more different? I brush my teeth for a minute and a half, she brushes hers for five. I leave the toilet lid up, she puts it down. I forget to shut a door, she closes it. I wipe my palms on the leg of my jeans, while she insists on a soapy cloth for her "hands, hands, hands!" Her play space is as neat when she leaves it as it was when she first sat down with her books, her pull toys, or her Magna Doodle. Her happy mantra, melodious in its chirring chime, is "put back! Put back!"

I think it's a little early for her opposition to be a conscious reaction to me. And I hope that we're too far along for it to be a phase. I relish the idea of having a neat little person in the house to help compensate for my shortcomings. I am not training her to be my maid, but far be it from me to deny her the opportunity to run a Swiffer duster over all furniture under 36 inches tall.

When my brother was The Boss's age, the day could not commence without him ripping every piece of clothing out of his drawers and throwing it across the room. I am reminded of this whenever we visit his dorm room at college. Now, the piles of clothes are secondary to the odors emanating from them. The Boss does not like the stark, foot-smelling masculinity of her uncle's room. She clings to my leg and whimpers until we take her down the hall to my brother's girlfriend's suite. There, The Boss is comfortable. She runs from pretty blond college girl to pretty brunette, then to me, shouting "hug!" all the way. She plays with shoes and text books. The air is flowery and fruity. Everything has its place.

In that room, I am careful not to blink. If I do, I fear sixteen years will pass me by and it will be The Boss's own sweet smelling room we are standing in. The Boss will be the pretty blond. Shoes will be lined up, textbooks piled high. In the bathroom, a toothbrush and floss will stand in complicity. The toilet lid will be down.

Could we be any more different? I will be unkempt and sweaty. I will wipe my hands on the leg of my jeans. Then she will carefully shut the door behind me, and The Boss's thrilled and thrilling hugs will be hard to come by.


slouching mom said...

Oh, so poignant at the end.

She's Felix to your Oscar!

Lawyer Mama said...

Awww, beautiful post! Hopefully, she won't grow up too fast.

And how do I get one of those fastidious children? Is it inborn, do you think?

Lauren said...

So if Tolby and I had a "who has the messier room" contest, I would win. :)

jen said...

lovely. but i can't help thinking of Jung's theory on our shadow selves..and how our babies must bring those out into the light, whether overtly or not.

Redneck Mommy said...

I wish I could convince my darling children to Swiffer anything...they are much too much like their lovely daddy for my taste...that is...slobs.

But I can't think of them in a dorm just yet. My heart has enough tiny cracks in it as of this moment...

lildb said...



*blink* (to rid eyes of pending liquid)