Monday, June 18, 2007

Naturally Chaotic

My mother was always big on concealed storage - there must be a few acres hidden in the wall to wall, floor to ceiling wardrobes in our house. She would love the idea of creating storage in the staircase. Growing up, I never saw our house in a state of disarray except before and after a move which happened several times. I have no idea how my mother managed to keep everything is such perfect order.

My own apartment has very little storage space besides the walk-in closets. Managing clutter is an ongoing challenge and I have taken refuge in that entropy is meant to increase with time and therefore chaos is the natural order of the universe that common mortals cannot hope to contain for too long. It takes J all of seven minutes to undo a weekend's worth of setting things right and in their place. Comes a time when one just gives up from sheer exhuastion.

As of this writing I have the couch completely dismantled with the cushions and pillows lined up on the carpet. J and her friend Rashmi have been "sky diving" on it and pretending they are animals on Old McDonald's farm underneath two chairs covered by my mother's old sari to provide a tent-like effect. Though the two activities appear quite unrelated there is a method to the madness. I have learnt never to question the logic and rationale of J's games.

Getting her to cleanup after herself is challenging and not because she will not comply with the request. She will survey the mayhem for a while and determine an equitable division of labor. Anything that comes out of the kitchen is for me, anything that comes from the toy basket is hers. All else is under dispute. The books scattered around the couch are for me to pick up and put away because I was reading them to her. Rashmi contributed to the mess to so its not fair that J be tasked with cleaning up after "our guest". I have to pitch in.

It falls to me to put the couch back together and put the sari away because "It's too difficult for a little person like me" As we go about our assigned tasks, J will call out exceptions to the previously agreed upon division citing reasons such as "I am only a little child" or "I am not strong enough" or "I am all the way sleepy" and finally "Not fair that I have to do more work than Mommy"

Needless to say, distractions abound along the way to the clean up itself. The box of markers and crayons will be disastrously close to a piece of construction paper and the temptation to create an impromptu "masterpiece" (as J refers to all her works of art) will prove too strong to resist. Then a pair of scissors will show up suddenly and the masterpiece will be reduced to fine confetti and scattered around the room.

At this point, the clean up duties will be renegotiated once more to account for the incremental chaos. A long forgotten bead necklace will surface at an inopportune moment and J will want the bracelets that go with it right now, this minute. Her world will come crashing down if the said bracelets are not rounded up. Of course neither of us have a faintest idea where they may be found.

One a bad day, this incident can produce copious tears and refusal to move forward with any of the assigned clean up tasks. "I am so sad that I can never wear my bracelets again and show them to my friends. Those were my most special favorite bracelets" I am sure some kid like J must have provided inspiration for the
"If You Give..." genre.


Ardra said...


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Heartcrossings said...

Hey Ardra,

Thanks so much for mentioning me and I am happy to know that I give you food for thought sometimes :)