Tonight my toddler could have drowned in his bath while I was standing not two feet away. I say ‘could’ and then hasten to add ‘but did not’ because I don’t want to incite alarm. Not at this point.
I don’t for one minute believe that I am the only person in the world to take advantage of those blissful times when the non-screaming tomato is happily engaged in drinking out of the tap or sucking the fetid soup from the blowholes of his bath toys. In these moments I have been known to perch daintily on the toilet beside the bath and read, or perhaps, in a spasm of usefulness, sort out the laundry. But I do these things in the bathroom and, as I gently remind my husband when it’s his turn to do the bathing and I catch him in another room sitting at the computer: DROWNING IS A SILENT DEATH.
Tonight however, I realised that despite the close proximity, there was a definite heightening of the risk of Silent Death because while Tricky was splashing about I was cleaning the bathroom sink. I will rephrase that, I was Swish and Swiping, a loathsomely cheerful phrase that really means ‘very quick lazy way of cleaning without proper cleaning’.
Swish and Swiping involves taking 15 minutes to do things like pouring shampoo down the toilet and using your dirty towels to mop the floor and most of all it involves using loads of Windex to clean your glass, mirrors and surfaces, buckets and buckets of the blue stuff. I love it. In just 15 minutes my bathroom appears a model of wholesome cleanliness and I am filled with the joy of domestic smuggery and must fight the urge to lick my own reflection in my crystalline mirrors.
I give credit for all this to the Fly Lady, she of the wacky cleanliness website, she who exhorts us to ‘polish your sink’ and ‘get dressed to shoes’ (FlyLady is not above Swish and Swiping the English language to suit her needs).
I first stumbled onto this site because I was sleep deprived and mush brained and coated in the deitrius of my own filth but too tired to do anything more than gaze sadly about the floor. I needed professional assistance and so I googled something like “MY HOUSE IS FILTHY, HELP” and “I AM TOO TIRED TO NOT LIVE LIKE A PIG.” I was thus led to FlyLady and her crisis cleaning pages. Every now and then I click back when I want more cleanliness inspiration or just to scare myself reading testimonials of how women have turned their homes into the equivalent of a B&B, just for them and their husband, or how much they looove wearing shoes and shining sinks.
The FlyLady site illustration suggests a slightly larger built woman with an unfashionable haircut wearing wings. She may actually be a large swarthy man with a hairy back and a winning way with exclamation marks but her dainty ways and humorous acronyms suggest a fifties housewife with a noughties sympathy for all the poor dirty sluts like myself who need to be reminded of the joys of a sweet smelling toilet and this is why I secretly love her.
Either that or I have become addicted to the smell of Windex.