- Embrace temporary mess, especially when it brings joy. In this case, one entire hour of joy:...that is how long Esky quietly sorted, stretched and stuffed hair ties for, on the floor. It took less than 60 seconds to pick up. Priceless.
- This is what I was doing:Periodically remove all clothing from its drawers/shelves and take serious inventory, reflecting on what is really needed...then put the keepers all back. I enjoy this a little too much. I sort out clothing that isn't being worn or no longer fits as it should (for donating/giving away/storing for future children), and order clothing according to size and type, in Esky's case - so the things that fit best (or are smallest) are at the top of each stack, with the things she can get away with next a little loose next, and the clothing she'll soon grow into at the pile's base. The shoes are in rows by type (sandal / church / slip-on etc.) and then by size too - with ones she'll grow into further back. I did my clothing drawers the same day. It was glorious.
- Keep a shaker cup in the laundry for dissolving washing powder. I picked up this old beauty for 50 cents years ago. For washing dark clothing, I scoop my washing powder into the cup, add hot water, shake, and then add to the machine...to avoid those nasty whitish patches on the spun-out clothes at the end of the cycle. I could switch to liquid detergent, but I find it so much more expensive.
- Make work spaces play spaces. Esky helps me with almost every household job - because I firmly believe work and play are not mutually exclusive, among many other reasons. But sometimes, her level of engagement varies. For washing, for example, she can add the scoop of powder, press buttons, and even sort colours into the machine. But when I need to scrub bibs or soiled clothing at the laundry sink, she orders her coloured magnet spots and says their colours. All the "work stations" in the house are similarly set up so that a tag-along isn't left without a task.
- Keep the most-used changing items together in some type of caddy. The caddy and its contents have changed many times, but there has always been some container for grabbing for a nappy change. Retrieving each item from around the place doesn't work for me. The empty tissue tube, pictured, contains all Esky's creams (Bepanthen, Micreme, and Ultraproct - poor soul), in case she needs them. The changing mat is folded up beneath - it's one of the waterproof changing mats from Plunket, covered with a pillowcase. This way the mat protects the carpet, but the pillowcase can be removed and washed. I bought odd, unmatched pillowcases for this purpose (and for lining her bassinet) in stacks of 10 for $1 from Sallies when she was born.
- Keep a soft face and hand cloth, clipped up and away from the other kitchen paraphernalia, in our case, to the range hood. After meals and snacks, I grab this cloth to wipe Esky's face, hands, and high chair tray. Because it's rinsed before and after each use in hot water, it needs to be up somewhere to air that is out of the way of the dishes, cooking mess, and dishcloths - which are not for her face and hands.. I replace it every morning with a fresh cloth, and every few weeks wash the lot of them in lavender-scented wool wash...because a warm, sweet smelling cloth coming at her face doesn't get shunned like a cold, chemically wipe or a smelly, multipurpose cloth (I cringe when we're at someone else's house and they grab any cloth and make for Esky's shying face...because I know I wouldn't want my face wiped with the thing that wiped down their bench...all week).
- Label wooden puzzle piece backs. I'm not sure if this will pay off, but I have given each of Esky's puzzles a name and labelled all its pieces with it (and numbered them), so that if an unusually shaped odd piece turns up in the crevices of the couch or under the fridge, flipping the piece over will immediately reveal which puzzle it belongs to. This will definitely be of more benefit with the non-descript pieces...and if I die and Haki lets Esky have all the puzzles out at once and then puts them away willy nilly without each time ensuring all pieces are present. Because right now, I don't see how a piece could go astray. I labelled them anyway. Because we can't have me turning in my grave over this. /eye roll at self.
- Distinguish between old and new eggs in the basket. Most often, I do this by boiling any eggs from the previous week and putting them in a tray in the fridge, so that all the fresh eggs in the basket are "new." Sometimes we're in no need of hard boiled eggs, or we're in need of a lot of fresh eggs for baking and the like...so the eggs are all basket-bound. When not going with the boil-the-old method, I draw a picture on all eggs from the previous week and place them on top of the basket, and everyone in our home (including Esky), knows these are to be used first. We cannot have a renegade old egg hanging out in the basket for 5 months to be cracked open upon a cheerful baker, unawares.
Have you entered the "Going Nuclear Giveaway/s"? I'm still taking guesses, and you could win an enlarged and matte-framed print of one of your favourite photos!