by Lori Dwyer on June 19, 2012 · 22 comments

A tale of imperfect parenting… judge me if you dare.

I wake up this morning to find my house covered in salt.

It’s not a euphemism, nor poetic license or even attempted creativity- I’m being quite literal. Every surface in my home– floors, tables, lounges and beds– is covered in a grainy, white sprinkling. I wake and sit up, raise my hand to rub liquid nightmares from my eyes… and find myself scratching grains of sodium into them instead.

That is the most fucking unpleasant way to begin a day.

To my horror, my phone tells me it’s almost nine am. As anyone with preschool or toddler aged children knows, that is an unearthly time to wake. I have a vague memory of my daughter crawling out of my bed not long ago– hopefully not long ago, how long has it been? She usually wakes at eight, a sleeper while her brother is up at the crack of dawn. But the Chop has learnt to chill out until a more reasonable hour of at least seven o’clock, as opposed to half past five– he grabs a yoghurt from the fridge, throws on the jumper I’ve left out for him, and chills out on the lounge reading books, watching endless SpongBob or defiling my iPad with Lightning McQueen.

Knowing that both children have been awake (outnumbered) without me for an unspecified period of time is enough to wake me up instantly. The house is (touch wood) relatively kid safe– doors and windows firmly locked, the few chemicals we do have stored under lock or outside.

It’s the potential bio–hazards or nuclear war zone that they’ll leave for me that scares me.

And the kidlets did not disappoint.

An entire half kilo of salt (non–idiosed, tsk tsk) is spread from here to there, back door to front. It increases in density on the floor space of our tiny kitchen, and trails like Gretel’s bread crumbs throughout the rest of the house.

Note the use of the feminine Gretel there? The Chop, butter not even softening in his mouth, is still engrossed in the iPad, watching WipeOut on YouTube.

Cheeky, you say..? You haven’t seen the half of it. Photo by the awesome Byron family photographer Kirsten Cox.

I think I know which of my angels is responsible for this one. The one with the cheeky, toothy smile and messy bed hair so much like her mothers, who’s curled into a salty lounge chair giggling softly at me.

What do you do, in a situation like that? How much responsibility can you expect a four year old and two year old to take for their own actions, when it took until two am for the temazapan to finally kick in, and seven hours of sleep only just barely cut it?

I hate it, I hate making excuses for myself like that. But I do it anyway, because I think the guilt would eat me alive otherwise.

There’s a silver lining here… a salted rim on the glass containing a bad martini. I choose not to yell, although I’ll admit I sighed enormously, and immediately my son said “That was naughty, wasn’t it mummy? I’m sorry”

Can you help me clean up, please, I ask, and my children scatter in two different directions. The Bump disappears to her room, the Chop into the storage cupboard.

Seconds later, my baby girl emerges wearing a chef’s hat, one arm caught up in a fairy dress, carrying her tiara– all essentials for cleaning up spilled salt, obviously. My son is making a banging, scraping racket, calling over the top of his own noise“It’s OK Mummy, I’m getting the vacuum cleaner!

And I start to laugh, giggling uncontrollably at my house covered in salt, child half dressed in varying shades of fairy, the other in man-of-the-house mode. The Bump joins in straight away- she’s always up for a giggle and it doesn’t take much to set her off. My son stares at me, wide eyed for a moment, before he starts laughing too.

The three of us sit in small mounds of salt, and for some stupid reason I throw a pinch of it over my left shoulder. For luck, maybe. Whatever. I don’t need luck, right now.

I’m happy with laughter. Right now, laughter will do.

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{ 22 comments… read them below or add one }

Melissa June 21, 2012 at 12:20 am

Reminds me of the time my daughter did a similar thing with a whole container of baby powder… puddle in the bedroom, trail up the hall, then a snowstorm all over the navy blue armchair! The worst thing? For some reason, I kept getting little electric shocks as it was being sucked up the vacuum tube :(


Elise June 20, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I would have sighed too and then laughed also. What else can ya do? I hope you took some pictures. What a great story to share as she gets older. And don't feel guilty. I have been known to let my oldest watch an ungodly amount of spongebob on certain mornings when i am exhausted in bed.


Melissa June 20, 2012 at 1:45 am

ARG! Could've been worse tho… could've been worse :)


ses June 19, 2012 at 10:35 pm

You have to laugh!! We had a similar incident in our household, only it involved baby powder. I have gotta say, she smelled beautiful!!!


Brad June 19, 2012 at 5:54 pm

Too too cute. Luv ya details Lori,
Brad xxx


Carolyn June 19, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Then you will appreciate your not the only Mum to experience the fun:


Kirsty Lee June 19, 2012 at 4:52 pm

No judgement here either! I did have a giggle. But you know what Lori! There is a positive in it… they ("they") say that scattering salt around the parameteres of your house wards of 'negativity' and 'bad vibes' so, I suppose that's what miss bump was doing ? LOL


Karen June 19, 2012 at 4:51 pm

I always, ALWAYS wear my tiara for extra special cleaning! Besides, I felt the good luck come my way the moment you tossed the salt over your shoulder.

Besides, I almost always sleep later than my kids…that's why they get so many homeschool lessons done.




Sharon @ Funken Wagnel June 19, 2012 at 4:29 pm

Aw, how cute!


Mary June 19, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Salt is salty, but apart from that I imagine not to hard to clean up, once the giggles subside! I love that the salt storm hit whilst sleeping and ipad action was taking place, the chop is a smooth operator!!


seasidechik June 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm

This happened to me once. With a whole, giant tin of Milo…

Vacuume cleaners do not like Milo.

NJo judgement here!


Anonymous June 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

you know what, every single mother is right there with you! Those who judge, screw em. And enjoy that laughter with your precious little ones – one day, you'll look back on this as a funny memory – for now, enjoy the madness and the fun of it. And sending you a big fat hug xxxxxxxxx


Donna June 19, 2012 at 1:50 pm

No judgement here, only laughter at the thought! (Says me who doesnt have to clean it up!) And despite the mess, it sounds like it was a littler pefect memory created that you can file away to call upon at times when you need a laugh and a smile x


The Flying Drunken Monkey June 19, 2012 at 1:41 pm

Oh what a horrible way to wake up!! No judgement here. Lily normally uses my iPhone every morning while I sleep or Daddy turns the TV on for her downstairs before he leaves for work. I can't function without my sleep.
Sometimes all you can do is laugh hey?


Lisa H June 19, 2012 at 1:28 pm

I think most mums could tell stories of things their kids got into when mum's attention was elsewhere (or slumbering!) I think your response was spot on. Sometimes all you can do is laugh, because it's way more fun than crying. Laughter is the best medicine, but a cleaning fairy wouldn't go astray either!


Miss Pink June 19, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Oh those kids of yours are remarkable. They may be mischievious, but they have hearts of gold.
You're a great mother Lori.


Dorothy Krajewski June 19, 2012 at 11:48 am

Guilt be damned! Enjoy the cleaning and the laughter :-)


Wanderlust June 19, 2012 at 10:24 am

What? No pictures?


Fiona June 19, 2012 at 8:38 am


Wonderful kids

Fyi I prefer to clean a house in cat ears


Peaches & Maple June 19, 2012 at 1:03 pm

I love this post. You are an awesome mother Lori and you shouldn't feel guilty at all! Sometimes all you can do is laugh.
Cas x


Chris Johnston June 19, 2012 at 10:26 am

I should clarify – the heater is the air con – so no burn worries :)


Chris Johnston June 19, 2012 at 10:23 am

Seriously no judgement here. I too am guilty of leaving a charged iPod complete with kid apps and the tv set to abc kids so my 4 year old only needs to hit one button.

The 2 yr old is our terror and some of the horrors I've woken to have included an entire 2 liter concentrated green cordial bottle covering the kitchen floor, water all over the bathroom and the latest pearler – worm wee from the composite in the water feature.

Still after all this I leave the heater running for the loungeroom to be toasty, the tv ready for abc kids and I enjoy a guilt free lay in til 8am.

Those that judge clearly have solid uninterrupted sleep or angelic robot children lol


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