Friday, June 4, 2010


The McDonald family on the famous couch. Tim's the one standing on the right.

Normally Toby is in the studio with me in the morning when she pukes. I don't clean it up. Clay studios can take a little vomit here and there. (It was really put to the test by my first frat boy employee) Friday, however, is mommy day, so Toby's hideous sour-milk puke was all over our bed this morning. I changed the sheets, but I was just going to flip the mattress pad around. Mid-flip I remembered that I'd already turned it last week when one of us forgot a diaper on Steel at nap time. I've reached that level of parenthood when I turn instead of launder. I opted for the pee side near my head rather than the puke. I then looked guiltily out the window....and Fabrezed it. Fabreze isn't a guilty pleasure; that's Clorox wipes. It's a desperate last resort.

I discovered Fabreze when we got our couch reupholstered by a tiny woman named Tiffany. She'd had the thing twice as long as we'd expected, and a leg fell off when we loaded it into the truck. The glue she'd used to stick it on a half hour before we'd gotten there didn't take. We turned a blind eye and chucked the leg into the front seat even though one of her main selling points had been using a carpenter to fix any woodwork issues. Her work place turned out to be her tiny row home, and the root of her tininess that she's a chain-smoker. I'm not a militant anti-smoker. In fact, I've been known to have a cigarette after a drink or 2, but that couch was so saturated I couldn't let Jack Peter sit on my lap after he'd been sitting on it because the smell in his hair made my spit hot-the way it gets before I'm about to puke. Granted I was in my first trimester of pregnancy with Toby. We Fabrezed in a last ditch effort to avoid pitching a McDonald family heirloom into the dumpster. The whole house reeked of
a breath of fresh air. We opened the windows, went to bed and awoke to an odorless couch. I was musing over this miracle to my hopefully-soon-to-be sister in law. (also Tiffany) She replied, in her matter-of-fact Midwestern accent, "Oh yeah...we used to spray it on our hair if we didn't have time to shower after a frat party before class." Why bother with baths and laundry anymore? "Honey, I packed the lunches; have you brushed their teeth and Fabrezed them yet?"

Opting for the pee side of the mattress pad near my head rather than the puke was a result of my brother's declaration that "urine is virtually sterile." I include that quote in my short list of great tips for parents. The others are: "crying is an infant's only exercise."* and "a portion of protein need only be the size of their palm."* I recite these three things multiple times throughout the day like some sort of yogic mantra.

*Lisa Randolph Strickland-best friend from home
Karen Hull Pellis-dear friend who introduced me to my husband-also a potter married to an architect

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