When people hear that I have three daughters, the response is always the same.
"THREE GIRLS??!!" they gasp, "THREE??!! Oh, my God, the HORMONES in your house must be UNBELIEVABLE!"
Well, let me tell you something. The hormones I can handle.
It's the laundry that's going to kill me.
I am absolutely dumbfounded by the amount of dirty clothing my children have the ability to produce on a daily basis. At our house, EVERY day is laundry day... it has to be. Otherwise, the rapidly accumulating pile that I have come to know as "Mt Washmore" will eventually grow to a capacity capable of asphyxiating me, should it ever collapse in my general direction.
Is this laundry crisis my fault? Well, MAYBE. After all, isn't every problem eventually blamed on The Mother?
When my first child was born, I was completely besotted with her. She was so tiny, so beautiful, so perfect in every way... and the CLOTHES FOR GIRLS WERE SO DARNED CUTE!! I don't know any mother who has been able to resist the almost biological urge to wrestle their newborn daughter into one frilly, be-ribboned outfit after another. Especially when it's your first baby. I absolutely confess, it was probably ME who instilled the idea that it was acceptable-- ENCOURAGED, even-- to change clothing no fewer than about ten times per day. And we're talking changing for pure pleasure here, not just for the obvious reasons of spitting-up and explosions from the other end... By golly, we were going to get the MAXIMUM use out of all those glorious little tiny outfits, before they were outgrown!!
Child Number One turned into a BIT of a fashion plate, as a result. My background in theatre costuming didn't help the matter, either. Not only was I buying for her, but I was sewing for her, too. And then taking PICTURES of the things that I had sewn... Number One loved every minute of it-- she embraced the whole gig, posed for the photos, and smiled sweetly...
The real trouble began the minute she learned to undress herself. It seemed that no sooner did I have that kid all dressed up to the nines, hair-face-and-teeth shining... but she wanted to tear it all off and start all over again. It had become Sport. There were clothes strewn all over the place, and it was useless for me to try and decide whether things had been worn for any great length of time... I just raked it all up at the end of the day, and threw it into the laundry basket.
Child Number Two, aged six, on the other hand, is a TOTALLY different specimen. To this kid, clothes are a pain. They are here to cover our parts, protect us from the elements, and that is all. This kid has a closet so full of books and hand-me-down frilly dresses, we can hardly see the books. And the dresses NEVER get worn... except on those rare occasions (ie. trips to Grandma's house, or photo day at school) when looking presentable is necessary, and I'm up for The Fight. Actually, I need to stockpile energy drinks for about three days prior so that I'll be PREPARED for The Fight. She's that feisty.
Child Number Two not only produces laundry, she NECESSITATES laundry. Her nickname is Twister for a reason. Wherever she goes, she leaves horror and havoc in her wake, and her clothes show it. She goes through a minimum of three to five outfits per day... most of which she just blows through from sheer wear-and-tear. Interestingly, once she is home from school, her outfits of choice are always summer clothes, no matter WHAT the weather is doing outside. We can have just returned home from Kindergarten in a BLIZZARD, and the child will rip upstairs to change from her paint-and-white-glue-encrusted jeans and sweatshirt into her favourite glittery Minnie Mouse tank top and a pair of shorts. That is, unless she can lay her hands on her favourite mint green polka-dot bikini first. I tried convincing her to wear seasonally appropriate clothing for the first couple of years of her life, but have since decided that it's just easier to let it GO, unless we're going OUT.
Child Number Three, by comparison, is a dream come true. She's just two and a half, and I'll be damned if I'm going to teach her to dress and undress herself until she's ready to leave for university. No button, snap and velcro demonstrations for THIS kid, that's for sure. The trouble is, she's messy. REALLY messy. And fast. She can climb up on counters and cram that stash of leftover Easter chocolate into her mouth faster than you can blink. She can get her mitts on my makeup box and have "decorated" her brand new shirt with my brand new lipstick in under five seconds flat. And, most recently, she proved that she can stand on a stool and two phonebooks, reach across the bathroom counter for the vaseline, and THOROUGHLY mousse her hair with it before anyone even has an inkling that she's missing from the group... When I do her laundry, I'm tempted to throw that little shrimp into the washing machine, too, just to save the effort at bathtime. Of course, I'd have to add a little more detergent and a couple of extra rinse cycles... Oh, it's tempting, all right.
So, bring on the hormones, girlie-girls, bring 'em on. If I can survive a decade of scrubbing out your toughest stains, your puberty ought to be a walk in the park by comparison. Unless, of course, scaling the peak of this next load does me in, first...