I was visiting with a friend of mine who also has three boys and is pregnant with her fourth. The difference between us, though, is her house is always impeccably neat and well organized. Mine is...um...not. Sure, I try, and I work very hard, but chaos is almost always around some corner.
As we were talking about it, I realized that our boys are quite different. Mine just frequent the realm of "things one should not do." This means I am constantly stopping what I am doing to check what they are doing. Simple tasks take forever--some never get finished.
Let me give you an example.
A few days ago, I was unloading the dishwasher. Should take five minutes. But it's rarely ever that simple.
It was a nice day outside--almost 50 degrees. The boys went out in the yard to play. It's fenced, but they know how to open the fence, so I have to check on them every few minutes. On this day, they did not try to open the fence. Rather, they got the keys to the garage, which is not attached to our house, and opened it.
When I went out to check on them, I found one son trying to put an arrow on a bow. I herded him out of the garage, locked it, and brought the keys inside. I tried to unload the dishwasher again. Then I saw my other boys in the yard with small gardening shears, pruning my dead plants.
Although the examples change hourly (sometimes it's perfume and lotions they get into), this is all normal activity in my house. Today, one son invented a game called: "What's faster? Me or the toilet?" Object of the game: try to flush a toy down the toilet and see if you're faster or if the toilet's faster. How do they think of this stuff? How can I stop them? (Sidenote: after asking him about it, I guess he races not a toy, but himself against the flush of the toilet. Can he make it to point A before the toilet finishes flushing?)
So this is a large part of why I struggle to get everything finished as I should. You just can't focus and finish when you have to constantly keep boys from (or interrupt them from) doing something that is either dangerous, dumb, or destructive (or all of the above).
Here's hoping for a day where they will play productively with their toys...and only their toys. But I suppose that for them, venturing into never-never land is much more risky and therefore, fun. Who wants to play it safe when you can take a walk on the wild side?
Going back to the difference between my friend and I and our housekeeping--my home, therefore, is not one where neat and tidy reign but where the wild things are.