Dear Visitor at My Front Door,
Hello and welcome to our home! Let me push these dogs and children back inside while I step out to the sidewalk with you for a moment.
I’m so happy you’re here, but we should discuss possible situations you will encounter before you cross the threshold into what we affectionately refer to as “Circus Vorholt.” Please ignore the high-pitched screaming and obnoxious bloodhound baying escaping my home while we chat. I can assure you no one, or thing, is being harmed in a way that requires an emergency room visit. Yet.
As you know, I have five children and three dogs. Yes, I know you adore Mabel the Bloodhound and find her antics posted on Instagram and FaceBook hilarious, but her slobber stains on your clothes may not be well-received in person. Yes, I know you love what you see about my children on social media, but Nick’s drool stains on your shirt when he hugs you repeatedly with surprising strength won’t disappear with the flick of a finger across a screen. Feel free to hold both canine and child away from your body with extended arms.
While we’re discussing Nick, I’d like to explain unusual cleanliness you might witness once inside our home. You see, my two oldest children are away at college, which means I’ve lost two housecleaning helpers. My remaining children aren’t what I’d call cleaners in any sense of the word, unless you count washing full buckets of dirt in the pool as “cleaning.”
Regardless, we’ve assigned them all daily chores such as vacuuming, folding clothes, putting away clean dishes and picking up their dirty clothes.
Between the three children, we find different levels of vacuuming: one has a not-so-clean habit of putting dirty rugs, shoes and dog beds on human beds, countertops and furniture while she forcefully slams the vacuum cleaner around, glaring in anger at anyone who passes through the room. In protest, she leaves the dirty rugs, shoes and canine-hair-dirt-crusted beds in their new, elevated locations. Every. Single. Time. So if you happen to find my kitchen rug on the counter, feel free to congratulate her on a job well done.
One child vacuums without ever looking at the floor and the other prefers to stay in one spot where he moves the machine back and forth, back and forth. I’m either repeating, “Look at the floor!” or “Okay, move to the next spot, please!” for an hour, which is why I look fried. If my husband happens to ask what he should get me for Christmas, feel free to suggest a Roomba.
If you should need a kitchen towel to dry your hands on during your visit, please remember who folded those items and refrain from expressing a “WTH” look when you open the drawer. At this point, I’m simply satisfied if the kitchen hand towels make it to the kitchen and in the drawer. All that really matters is that they are clean, which I’m 80% sure they are. I can’t always be there to ensure a snotty face isn’t wiped in transit, but hey, that mucus is probably dry by now and it’s allergy season.
In this house, we aim for job completion. I think you’ll be impressed to know that all three children are great at putting away the clean dishes. They get in the kitchen and empty the dishwasher within minutes! Yes, there are occasional real-life knife fights, but no one has been sliced yet and the knives are never misplaced in the wrong drawer. The same goes for the spoons and forks, although I should warn you to inspect any silverware for dried food particles before use. One child in particular requires all of his brain capacity to stay on a single task, so expecting him to ensure proper visual “is this really clean?” thought in addition to knowing where the fork goes isn’t consistently successful. The same inspection rule holds true for plates, bowls, cups and anything else you might use.
Speaking of inspection, these children have no concern for hygiene or clothing cleanliness, so you may notice a lovely BO smell if you visit later in the day or you may see dirt or food stains on their clothes. One child doesn’t care to wash her clothes weekly, one prefers to wear the same outfit every day without washing and usually hides it in his bed and one could care less what he has on and would actually prefer to not wear anything at all.
Which leads me to another topic I should warn you about: naked children may appear at any moment during your visit, so to help protect your emotional well-being, I will shout, “Look away!” at the top of my lungs if one of my 12 year olds starts to streak past. I fully encourage you to do just that, look away FAST, to avoid a therapy session devoted entirely to special needs boys with toddler IQs and pubic hair. I promise, that is NOT something you want coming across your eyeballs. It took me MONTHS to process and I’m not sure I’ll ever recover.
Do you have any questions for me? Again, I’m so excited you are here and I have your alcohol of choice waiting in the kitchen in a glass I cleaned myself, so you’re safe.
Come on in and let’s get this party started!