Cleaning is child’s play compared to toddlers

editorial image

I am well into my summer leave and am making good inroads with the ‘list of things to do over the summer’ list.

Much of it involves cleaning and decluttering and although there is something fantastically cathartic about a good clear out and clean up, I’m the first to admit that I have to be in the mood to get scrubbing.

Little ones can be far more tiring than any household task

Little ones can be far more tiring than any household task

Other homes may get a spring clean – in mine, it’s a big summer clean, when the sun comes out and shows up just how grubby those windows actually are, shaming me into actually doing something about it. I’ve been in the mood to clean this week – and had to strike while the iron was hot, so to speak.

So I started by tackling our younger son’s room – a feat of bravery in itself because frankly, it’s a place I don’t go into much. I have long suspected it may be something of a health hazard in there – in fact, I imagine a teenage boy’s bedroom is the closest most of us will come to the feeling those Obsessive Compulsive Cleaners on TV get when they apprehensively open the door of some lifetime hoarder’s home and see the squalor that awaits them inside.

Okay, so I didn’t exactly need a full body suit and face mask, but with rubber gloves on and armed with a bucket of hot water and plenty of cleaning product (I’d rather have got stuck in with a wire brush and Dettol) I ventured in, a woman on a quest to challenge the mess. Several hours later, I emerged tired but smugly satisfied from what is now a spick and span, shiny and practically sanitised room.

Another day was spent in the garden tackling an unrauly hedge. Not the full on cut, since according to Gardener’s Question Time, the birds may still be raising their young in nests for another few weeks, but just a quick trim with the garden shears to tidy it up a bit.

Now, see, it’s at times like this I begin to really feel my age – I’m sure that hedge is growing taller each year – either that, or I genuinely don’t have the energy to hold up hedge trimmer. On the plus side I think I may be beginning to gain back a little muscle in my upper arms again.

But it wasn’t either of those two things that left me truly shattered, drained and needing a good lie down in a darkened room.

Two-year-old Apphia is my sister’s granddaughter, the youngest and by far the most adored member of the family, and who impressively, takes the prize for wearing me out quicker in just a few hours than all the other chores I’ve been trying to tackle this week.

I looked after the little cutie one morning when her mum had an appointment to keep. Thinking it would be a welcome change from the exhausting work of housekeeping, I jumped at the chance to spend time with her.

We went to the park, fed the ducks, played on the swings, slid down the slide and stopped on the way home to say hello to some horses in a field before having a finger food lunch and a good run across the garden. (You forget how fast a two-year-old can move).

Her mum came mid-afternoon to pick her up and later that evening sent me a text:

“Apphia was asleep in five minutes after we left your house”.

I messaged back:

“So was I”.