March 21, 2011

Shampoo Log Cabin

Mayim Bialik--yes, you heard me--that Mayim Bialik--wrote a blog post recently addressing why it is that most dads don't wake up when the kids do.  Of course, every household and family is unique in their morning ritual, especially weekend mornings, when the alarm clock on the nightstand is manually turned off, but the biological alarm clocks in our little chickens keep right on ticking.  She wonders if women are more genetically programmed to get out of bed [before or] when the kids do, and if men are more predisposed to sleeping in.

I don't know anything about biological predispositions, especially since I have male friends who've told me how badly they want to have kids before they're 40 and female friends who don't want kids at all.  But I can tell you that the way my husband I do things around here is pretty different, and those differences might have a lot to do with our sexes.  I can hear an old professor of mine reading me the riot act about assigning gender to behaviors, but I'm going to try to spare her finger-wagging here--I think our differences have everything to do with our abilities to withstand environmental noise: chaos, loudness, messes.

Take, for example, how we each adjusted to the amount of crap that accompanies bringing a baby home (I needn't list it all, but if I did, my list would end with bouncy seats, Bumbos, Boppys, and Bjorns).  My once-orderly home now has a bunch of pint-sized furniture in it, and it all shifts around depending on what I needed to accomplish during any given hour.  Now that there's a second baby, there's even more pint-sized stuff around.  Let me say here that I couldn't be happier and feel more blessed to have a beautiful home and beautiful babes.  But my OCD goes mercurial when I've had to step around a play gym to sit down, and I sit on something that squeaks, only to realize that there's crayon on the floor (rather, the floor's been crayoned on).  Clean-up's a bitch when you have to do it every day, and maybe that's why all the STUFF gets to me.  My husband's response to the mess of every day?  You'll get used to it.  He says this because he isn't predisposed to cleaning.  Seeing a mess, sure--but taking care of it is a priority somewhere under watching the rest of March Madness in totality.

Last fall, I wanted to give my daughter a toy cabin--you've seen these in people's yards.  I loved the idea of a cabin--so rustic, so homey--and pint sized!  (The one pictured even has a "fireplace" in it.)  I got on Craigslist, found exactly the one I wanted, borrowed our aunt's big minivan, and drove 44 miles roundtrip to go get it.  I brought it back home in its parts, hoping that Heath would be moved to assemble it when the weekend came around.

But it rained that weekend, and no assembly.  The log cabin parts leaned against our deck, slick and sad looking.  On the first, crisp, sunny day I could, I went outside to see if I could do it myself, because I just couldn't stand the sight of the lump of plastic parts every time I looked out of my kitchen window.

My five-week-old infant son was asleep; my daughter and husband were out of the house, and out I traipsed with some dishrags to wipe off the plastic, Adirondack walls.  Good grief, those walls weigh a lot.

The first obstacle was trying to stand two walls, simultaneously, to fit the ends of one into the grooves of the other (see picture).  There was a fair amount of grunting and slipping on wet leaves.  And cursing, and broken nails.  For twenty minutes.

I went inside, a little defeated, nursed the baby, put him down again, and went back out.

Once I'd gotten two sides together (which took another 20 minutes), I had trouble getting the rest to fit.  More grunting, more cursing, more slipping.  I kept looking to see if the mailman was coming around, because I would have enlisted his help.  But no mailman, the neighbors were all at work--and so I did what any mother of a sleeping infant would do to get the pieces to "slip right together," as the cabin's former owner promised me would happen.

I got a bottle of shampoo.  I slicked up the plastic.  I wiped off my hands and tried and tried, more grunting, and swwwwwip!  The sides all fit together, presto-bango.

Shampoo?  Yes.  It's a logical choice.  Waxy, cheaper than olive oil, less messy and more fragrant than vaseline.  It's also a lot QUIETER than grunting and banging plastic together.

So the sides slipped together, but wouldn't really lock.  It was about then I heard someone hammering something down the street.  I ducked into the house, grabbed Heath's hammer, and at the risk of making too much noise, banged that log cabin together like Charles Ingalls.  I had a bona-fide structure.

I was just putting the roof on when I heard the baby waking up, and voila!  Six broken nails, four wet, dirty dishrags, one tiny log cabin that smelled like Herbal Essences.

It was dusk when my husband came home from work with Devi in tow.  He eyed it, gave me a knowing glance, and remarked that it couldn't have been easy to do--unless I used a hammer.

Maybe it's my inner caveman who's sleeping in.

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