I'm not what you would call the neatest person in the world. You all have politely looked beyond the child's toys strewn about in the photos that I post. "Well, maybe they're just in the middle of playtime". You're so polite.
I'm always neat when something is new. When I first moved into my house, I had a nighttime routine. After the girl went to bed, I'd pick up all her toys and put them in the toy bucket, and all the books in the book basket. There weren't any dirty clothes strewn about, there weren't any dirty diapers laying around. I'd do the few dishes in the sink, start another load of laundry, settle in for sleep. I felt so good about myself.
But after a while, it's not as easy to stay that neat and organized. We have more toys now than I care to think about. They are not only in the toy bucket, a tote in her room, but also teeming out of a Rubbermaid tote in the living room. I'm not buying her any new toys, so I guess they're having toy "relations" and reproducing like rabbits when I turn the lights off at night.
I admit I've been letting dishes go a day or two. I don't use my dishwasher because you have to roll it across the floor and hook it up to the sink. It seems easier to just throw in some soapy water and run a rag over them.
And my laundry is just a lost cause at this point. I'm lucky I have enough diapers to go two or three days. I used to be all excited "yay, I get to do diaper laundry!". Now I'm getting to "hmmm, I think I need to do diaper laundry". MY stuff? May not get washed until December.
So as the Wee One has been getting food all over her carseat, I've been kindof ... ignoring it. The big glob of half-masticated banana I did use a diaper wipe on. Other than that, I haven't been stressing about it. During a shopping spree afternoon she dumped* a package of goldfish crackers around her that stayed for ... longer than I really care to publicly admit. She thought it was sport to reach down between her legs and pull out a stale goldfish, so I let her feel proud of herself.
When a leaking sippy cup of juice spilled onto the goldfish crackers under her now-21-pound bottom, I pulled her out of the carseat the other day to liquified mashed stale goldfish crackers.
Ugh. Now I pretty much HAVE to clean the carseat.
One of the benefits to the carseat I chose (other than the 5-star safety rating, extended rearfacing weight limit, and rebound bar) is that you can remove the cover without having to undo, re-thread, re-route, or otherwise mess with the straps. In my mind I'm thinking that I can pop this bad boy off, throw it in the washer and dryer, and in a couple of hours we'll be back in business.
That was Sunday.
Today is Wednesday.
It actually wasn't all that bad. The "getting it off" part was almost as easy as I'd expected. The "dumping the extra stale goldfish crackers in the front yard for the rabbits to eat" was pretty much as easy as I'd expected. The "vacuum the crevices to get all traces of stale cheerios, goldfish crackers, and other food items" was as easy as I'd expected ... on one side. On the other? Cemented cheerios. Apparently banana mush or juice didn't mix well with oatmeal-containing cereal o's. I tried. Then I gave up. Shhhhh, don't tell. If there's a nuclear storm I don't want people breaking into my car for cemented cheerios.
The "washer and dryer" part? Well, I'm one of those nerds that keeps - and reads - the instruction manual. Which, OF COURSE, specifically says not to machine wash or dry. So I did dishes to clean out the sink to fill it up with soapy water to wash the cover. Rinsing was interesting - I about got arthritis squeezing the foam over and over and over and ... (I'll spare you) to get all the suds out. Luckily it dried quickly in the blazing heat in the backyard. One good thing about August's oppressive temperatures.
Finally, at 6:00 this morning, I humped the whole damn thing back into the car, got the latch tethers back in the right spot, got it tightened down and level (I think. It was dark.) Nice, clean carseat.
Was it worth it? I don't think so. I may not do that again until she's 6.
Does anyone do a "no food in the car" rule? I can't imagine setting another boundary that needs enforcing. But if you do, please let me know how you accomplish it.
I spent time this morning writing about cleaning the car seat, rather than grading or discussing the competing multiple constituencies of higher education and the problems of governance in colleges and universities. Procrastinate much?
* DaMomma was less than impressed.