Laundry and the Blankie

So yesterday I finally decided I’d trick Sean from his blankie.  Sean has fallen in love with this ultra-soft baby blanket with the words “Thank God for Little Boys” embroidered in the cornor, which used to be Evan’s (I bought it for plane trips, dressing Evan in as much identifying blue and mommy’s boy stuff; I was paranoid).  Sean has been sleeping with his blankie for several months and recently has been carrying it around the house.  Now it had started having black and grey poke-a-dots.  When he dropped the blanket to grab the remote (I am obviously raising men), I grabbed the blanket, realizing it’s been a while since I washed his sheets.

 

As I examined his sheets, it dawned on me that I didn’t remember when the last time I washed his sheets.  The set that was being used had a busy print of white stars on a blue back ground, perfect for a new baby because it hid all stains.  I’m sure you remember how the light colored sheets were dirty in a blink of an eye.  I’m really horrible about remembering to wash sheets for some reason.  In my single girl stage, I washed them every two weeks with the rest of my laundry; now I have to write “wash sheets” on the calendar or I’d forget.

 

As Sean flipped through the channels, I heavily doused the blankie and the other laundry with stain remover and threw them into the washing machine on the maximum heavy-soiled, delicate cycle.  By this time, Sean knew something was up and came to investigate.

 

“Blankie?”

 

What?  Did he actually say blankie?  No, baby, Mommy’s washing it.  Let’s go play with trucks.  Hoping he’d follow, I left the laundry room, heading for the toys.  I turned around to show Sean a truck when I saw him leaving the laundry room, holding a large dust bunny from the dryer trap that I had thrown away the night before.  Gross.  Sean rubbed it on his face.  Double gross.  I quickly grabbed is soft teddy bear and showed it to Sean.  He immediately dropped the dust bunny and grabbed the bear.  I swooped in, grabbed the dust bunny, and disposed of it.

 

As I emptied the clothes from the washer to the dryer, Evan came up behind me, carrying the basket I throw the dirty kitchen towels.

 

“Excuse me, Mommy, I have to do laundry now!”

 

He nudged me out of the way and began putting the towels into the washing machine, and Sean appeared to help his brother.  I was a little surprised and a bit amused.  I do most of the laundry at night because I tend to forget to get wet, clean clothes out of the dryer if I don’t do it right away.  As you can imagine, California heat and damp clothes in an air tight container is not the best circumstance; hence, I wash the clothes at night and drop them into the dryer the next morning.

 

Evan looked up and smiled.  “All done, Mommy.  Seanny, shut the door.”  Sean shut the washing machine door, and the boys went off the play.  I shrugged, threw in more dirty towels, set the machine, and followed them to play.  If you can’t beat them, join them.

 

And yes, as soon as the dryer was done, I pulled out Sean’s blankie and handed it to him.  He hugged it like he hadn’t seen it in months; then he gave me a suspicious look and kept it near him the rest of the day.  I promise, kid, I won’t take it away again until it turns grey. 

Laundry day

What an awesome title right? 

So laundry is the complete divide that separates the genders in my household.  Laundry day is fraught with political and sexual tension, and none of it is the good kind, as I try not to smother any one with a pillow.  (anyone = husband)  As I live in Southern California, I have to divide my laundry up to do at night so that I don’t send my electric bill sky rocketing and spend a small nation’s budget.  Friday night is the grownup laundry night.  And the same argument that has been going on for years will pick up again.  At least, we’re getting better at making fun of each other.

It started when I moved in with my husband.  (Bad Catholic, shacking up before marriage.  Engagements can fail!)  I had noticed that he only did laundry when he HAD no more clothes, and since his best girl friend owed him a large favor, she had been doing his laundry for a year.  That deal had expired a month or so before I moved in.  Before that, it turns out, his ex-girlfriend was doing his laundry.  Honestly?  (Note: I can’t complain of the sexism because in college I convinced guys to iron for me because I didn’t know how.)  It turns out my husband HATES doing laundry.  I can understand that.  I loath cleaning the floor.  But because we chose to be adults, we have to suck it up.

After a week or so of living with piles of clothes everywhere, everywhere, I said enough.  Which lead us into a huge fight, he then left in an angry huff.  Awesome.  So I was pissed, but I wasn’t going to live like this.  I piled all his clothes which turned into a small hill about five feet tall.  And I did his laundry.  I was oh-so careful.  I actually read the labels.  I used cold, hot, warm.  I separated into actual piles.  Due to my then-single husband asking a friend who was a stay-at-home mom, my husband did own a top of the line washing machine and dryer.  (Note: If by some horrible, twisted chance my marriage does fail, I plan to take them with me and the testicle I won from my husband in a bet.)  It took me three days to do it all and a  crazy high dry cleaning bill.  The last night as I gently folded the gentle cycle load, my husband came by and looked at the shirt I was folding, then preceded to lose his mind.  Apparently it was a hundred dollar shirt that he preferred to by dry cleaned, not washed, even though the tag said gentle wash.  I was still in shock that some one would spend a hundred bucks on a shirt.  I was just out of college where I was poor and starving and had 20 bucks to spend a week after bills and such.  After our tempers cooled, I labeled each of the three laundry hampers (yes, he actually owned three laundry hampers), laundry, dry-cleaning, and gentle.  I made up the new rule whatever is in those baskets will be treated as such and it won’t be my fault.  Yep, we have laundry rules as well as penis rules.

That was the first rule I installed in the household.  The next rules surprisingly were also about laundry.  It seems that my husband was led to believe that laundry included picking up all the dirty clothes, wash them, dry them, fold them, and put them away.  In his understanding of laundry, these tasks are ALL done by the person who does the laundry, the wife.  And that was the beginning of the trouble because I was raised by feminists.  (My dad actually does the laundry . . . and the dishes . . . and the ironing.)  OK, I get that I can do the washing, drying, and folding.  Oh, and in the beginning, I did laundry; while, he did the floors.  (That deal is looong gone now.)  But I am not his servant to pick up after him and put away things after him.  Still do this day we don’t see eye to eye on this.

So laundry rules as follows:

  1. If it isn’t in the hamper, it’s not getting washed.
  2. It is the owner’s responsibility to put the clothing in the right hamper.
  3. It is the owner’s responsibility to put the folded clothes away.
  4. The husband takes in the dry cleaning because he doesn’t have two toddlers to help across the street and out of danger as he carries a hamper of dry cleaning to the dry cleaners.

Things did become complicated when Evan was born.  Before he was born, I could go on strike.  So you had your buddies over for poker and didn’t clean up before or after, fine, the beer bottles will stay there.  Oh, you want to invite your best friend and his family over for dinner but the house is a mess.  Guess, we’ll clean together.  What?  You don’t have any clean underwear left?  I guess you could always pick a dirty pair of the floor, but forget about any bedroom play tonight.  Thst’s just gross.

Then Evan was born, and we couldn’t live in squalor.  Besides it turned out I liked living in a clean house, and that I enjoyed organized mess where I knew what paper was where in a stack.  So after a month or so picking up after my husband, I was ready to kill him (and let’s not forget I was the only one getting up with the baby).  So I bought a plastic basket, put his name in large letters on it, and left it on the hearth.  When I find something of his in the common areas, I throw it into his basket.  If the basket gets overflowing by two feet and we have company, I dump it on his side of the bed.  I just ignore the bedroom, making sure I have a clear path to the bathroom and a clean space for the boys to play as I get ready for the day.

So tonight I’ll do laundry.  As I try not to be a complete bitch, I’ll warn my husband and gather the clothes next to the laundry hamper, believing he just might have thrown them and missed.  Meanwhile, I plan on teaching Evan how to put his clothes and toys away.  Damn if I’ll let this habit be multi-generational.