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Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Hoarders gives Mothers Hope.

Yesterday morning as we were getting ready to leave I noticed that the house was unusually quite. I could hear the faint noise of the ending credits of Yo Gabba Gabba and as if DJ Lance himself was summoning me to the kitchen I entered with caution.  There, I discovered that the baby had taken an entire bag of  Bob's Red Mill Flax seed and spread it along the floor. As I went to the garage to find a broom (unsuccessfully) I discovered I didn't need one. Like white on rice our lab had devoured every last seed.  I think he has been anticipating that opportunity for, well, a lifetime. He is a water dog after all, and we all know flax seeds are packed with Omega 3 fatty acids.  He exceeded the equivalent of an entire school of fish, actually, he ate a University of vertebrate.
I wish I could have warned myself of the result of his overindulgence but it was probably best that I didn't know.  It was just one of those days that I felt that our house must be on a fault line and slightly shifted causing everyone to spill everything.  I left the house a mess and closed our front curtain, just in case the mailman peeked inside.  When we are gone, I suspect the papers in our house mate and have clutter babies. Bowls are horny little buggers to and by the time the boys go to bed we have enough dirty bowls to fill a soup kitchen.
By 8 PM on any given school night you cannot see the wood on our dining room table. It is covered with crayons, superheros, permanent markers or as Jack calls them "kermit" markers. He also calls hand sanitizer "hannatizer" and we continue the facade so much that our other boys are unclear of its correct name, just because we can.
When I finally collapse on the couch, I turn on the TV. Don and I sit like zombies.  After 10+ years he has surrendered the remote to me and as a result he has become very familiar with the OWN and TLC networks with E! being a close third.
I turn to Hoarders. As much as I want to turn away, I cannot. We bond over our disgust and we openly judge these people. How can you not know your beloved cat has been so dead that it mummified itself underneath the pile of the drink carriers you have been saving.  Suddenly we look like neat freaks.  As I walk to the kitchen to get another glass of wine I am in awe of the fact that I have a clear path and I don't have to step over a pile of diapers or cat feces.  A good housekeeping point for me.  Next up is Supernanny.  I suspend my empathy just long enough to see a little boy launch a chicken nugget at his mother's face. Next a father who is allowing a girl to color on the walls and this is after they refused to eat anything other than fruit snacks. We give each other a glance as if to say "amateurs". Without this window into others homes we would feel like we were failing. Just the other night it occurred to me that the our i-son4 has evolved. He has built an immunity to discipline and at 21 months he couldn't care less if he is scolded for feeding the dog his lunch. I think he waits for us to see him, maintains eye contact and drops the broccoli right into Grahams mouth. I think I just realized that our dog eats healthier than we do. There are nights when my attempt to make healthy eatable meals fails and results in a dinner of hot dogs, green beans and pasta wheels.  But seeing these decelerated parents actually makes us feel good.
Hoarders is a show that with every episode fuels my self esteem and makes me feel like a modern day Clair Huxtable. I suppose these people are desperate for help and that is why they contact the show producers. I cannot deduce because I have actually contacted Supernanny. It was a low point when I had 3 boys under the age of 4. And guess what? They called me back. But when I told Don he was violently opposed to inviting strangers into our home to film our parental short comings. Especially since he is a teacher and felt that if it was exposed that he couldn't control his own kids how could parents have confidence in his teaching their own plus an additional 29 kids?
Reality tv is as real as a real housewife's marriage, and not any more realistic than friends or strangers putting on appearances or worse, facebook that their homes are harmonic.  What you don't see is the effort that goes on to make it look like their home is organized and their kids love each other.  There is a reason that our Christmas card this year didn't feature all 4 boys sitting in a row smiling. It wasn't an artistic choice, it was because it was not possible. Instead I took an action shot of them walking down a hill (fun!) and individual shots. What you didn't see is Don losing his temper because someone was tattling, Parker doing his fake smile where he squints his eyes and shows his teeth, Fin pinching Jack, Jack crossing his eyes and Oscar running for the hills. ( hence the hill shot) and me tearful asking if it was too much to ask for just one good photo.
Once in awhile its just nice to feel that we aren't doing so bad, even if it takes a bratty kid chucking a chicken nugget or a 40 year old cat woman who hoards Q tips.

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