You might think that your kitchen is fine as it is, but you couldn’t be more wrong. There’s something whimsical about having an unexpected fountain in the heart of your home. It’s a conversation starter. It represents your state of mind. It’s a great story to tell the kids one day.
The most important thing to remember before we get going, and I really can’t stress this enough, is to rely on the Rhythm Method of contraception. As my GP put it: “The worst thing that can happen is that you fall pregnant”.
“Hahaha!” I reply, feeling groovy on my new meds.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
Along with the element of surprise, here’s what else you’ll need:
- A really small house or apartment
- A nimble toddler/spider monkey
- A sink full of all the dishes. Because even though one of you only drinks from a sippy cup, it’s somehow necessary to ensure that every other container has been used in the last 24 hours. Bonus points if the dirt has hardened to a crust.
- A rainy day
- At least two pets lying uneasily in the corner as the aforementioned toddler/spider monkey brandishes an ice tray their way.
In my case, our renovations begin when I foolishly let my mind wonder, and my child wander. With the news of our unexpected second pregnancy still fresh enough to freeze, I’m a mess as I stack dishes into the sink.
My thoughts are all over the place. Probably because I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a week. Gotta love that pregnant feeling. Still, I subconsciously make sure that the big plates go at the bottom, side plates above them and bowls on the top. Muscle memory or a desperate attempt to order my chaotic life? Hmmmm. I turn on the hot tap.
“How are we going to afford this? I wonder if it’s a boy or a girl. I like the name Otto, and I also like Oona. But Lizet said Oona sounds like Poonani, so that’s out. Dammit Lizet. I really liked that one. What happens if it’s a girl and she hates me? The broccoli in the fridge is going limp, I’m gonna have to cook it tonight. I guess we can have it with fish. Oh yay. Again. Maybe I’ll make cauli-mash. Finn likes that. I can tell by the way he rubs it into my hair. I wonder what he’s doing now. Haven’t heard him in a while…”
“Oh crap oh crap oh crap. I left the bathroom door open.”
I dash out of the kitchen, mismatched dishwashing gloves slapping wetly on the floor behind me, and start checking for my boy. It’s easier to understand my urgency if you know that my fearless and adventurous son is part mountain goat. This ibex child has been known to scale great heights without any assistance from other humans – usually using rickety surfaces as his base.
If it’s sharp, breakable or incendiary, he’ll make a plan to reach it.
I see him.
N’awwww. He’s sitting in the empty bathtub, surrounded by books. My eyes go all soft and crinkly as I contemplate this dear little thing. And then I see his dad’s razor resting on his knee.
It’s also around this time that I notice a trickling sound. As I move to quickly remove the razor, while still trying to seem nonchalant (so as to not Cause Alarm and thus Reinforce The Undesired Behaviour) I think, “Gee, I must have left a window open, the rain sounds loud.” At the speed of mom I whisk the razor out of sight, and tousle my kiddo’s hair. He looks up briefly, shrugs away from my affectionate touch and commences scrutinising the book of farm animals, which he’s holding upside down.
I walk back to the kitchen, thinking that maybe he’ll be an OK big brother. Maybe – with a few more shelves placed high up on the walls – we can make this work. Feeling a bit more optimistic, I look down for my dishwashing gloves and notice the slowly spreading puddle on the floor. Already I know what’s happened, but my eyes resist my brain’s smug insistence, and before I believe it I check every window latch. All firmly fastened. And the water noise gets louder.
As I splash over to the tap, a part of me laughs at the sight of dishwater slopping down the cupboard. Only a very small part. Most of me wants to cry and call my mom. Which I do.
Ma tells me all too happily about how she had my eldest brother when she was only 21, while my dad was away in Zimbabwe, in the army. She takes a certain grim pride in mentioning how they’d just moved to Durban, that she didn’t know anyone, and had to learn how to care for a new-born baby completely on her own. Also cloth nappies.
Thanks for that one Ma. As I gaze around our cosy abode, I give myself a sisterly slap – which is TOTALLY a thing you can do if you only have brothers – and grab the mop. Finn comes toddling in, not believing his luck at the watery floor, and starts pulling cushions off the couch.
But it’s not as bad as it sounds.