Finding Ninee » Sharing our parenting and special needs stories with heart and humor.

Love, Chores, And Filling In The Blank Spaces

My Husband Does the Laundry. He Thinks IVisit my house, and it’s pretty obvious that I don’t like chores. Laundry is handled by my husband, and the spurt of motivation that I got last week to list All Unused Baby Things on Craig’s List is evident in the unpurchased items clogging my family room. “Let’s sell them and get money,” I thought. And some items (three) were sold. But most sit here, unused and cluttering in the same way but also worse because now they’re out in the open instead of gathering dust in hidden closets that we don’t have enough of.

The selling of the unused baby items and figuring out which should be donated and which should be sold makes me think about chores. The chore charts that I had as a child – the weird calendar that my mom made listing our names next to items like doing dishes and setting the table.

I think about chores, and about mine, and I think about work and my son and this cluttered life of ours filled with too many toys and not enough dirt. I think about love. I resolve to say no to indoor legos tomorrow and yes to the dirt. It’s finally almost maybe not snowy or rainy and the dirt calls me with promise of castles and cradles and forts and army men. Maybe, we’ll dig the beginning of a tunnel to China.

For my little boy, it’s a chore to brush his teeth with the not-baby toothpaste. It’s huge for him, and each night, we make a game of it. Bought the not-baby toothpaste with Hulk and Iron Man and Spidey right there on the bottle. We tell him that his favorite Superheroes don’t like it, either, but that they use it anyway.

His chores, at five, are different than mine were at five. As in, he doesn’t really have any. Some of that has to do with the fact that he’s an only child, and some of that has to do with the fact that just three years ago, he wasn’t talking and things like chore charts were the furthest thing from my mind. Chores and dressing himself and peeing in the potty seemed so far away then.

For some reason, I’m also thinking about the Blank Spaces. Those filled with love, and those filled with the unsaid. The blank spaces that fall between my words, my husband’s words, and my son’s words.

Mine, when asked what I’ll do now, once the initial Craig’s List posts have expired and our room is filled with expected sales: “I’ll deal with it.” The blank spaces are longer. Louder somehow. They contain doubt and procrastination and sentiment. “Give it all away without me knowing. Wait!  Do not touch a single thing because Tucker’s Baby Bjorn Bouncie seat has life and memories and is at least worth ten bucks.”

I think about the blank spaces between our words in general. All of the people who automatically say “fine” when asked how they are. The un-uttered worry of parenting and life. The love between the lines.

Usually, after school, we work on Tucker’s special book reading thing, and play outside, and then try to count or do something educational. We suck at that part, by the way.

Today, between the words, this happened. Some of our neighbor kids, who are younger than Tucker and taunt him with “I don’t have to go to school today!” words at the bus stop are scooter experts. I mean, these three year olds zoom up and down the street with lightning shooting out of their wheels and their moms talking to other moms rather than worrying about cars or falling the same way I would if Tucker were able to zoom like that.

He wants to though. He wants to zoom. Or, at least, I think he does. And that’s where the filling in the blank spaces comes in.

Him: “I want that scooter.”

Me: “Ok, buddy, we’ll get you one!”

Him: “No. I might fall and get hurt.”

Me, not saying anything because what do I say, filling in the blank spaces, thinking that Tucker means “I am afraid that I will fall and look stupid and that these boys who are two years younger than I am will laugh and laugh.”

What he’s likely really thinking? I dunno.

I think though that he’s thinking he’s ready to try. Even if it’s in private which is where it makes sense to, until it doesn’t because falling In Public makes it all more real.

Instead of doing chores tonight, I Googled scooters. The whatever kind and the adaptive kind, knowing that Tucker will fly if he feels like He Can Do It, regardless of how the scooter looks. I think. I think about the love that I have for him. For life.

Again, I’m filling in the blank spaces.

***

This has been a Finish the Sentence Friday post. A prompt where writers and bloggers finish a sentence and link themselves to others, doing the same. This week’s sentence is “The chore I hate doing the most is…”

Hosts: Me, Kristi from Finding Ninee
and your gracious co-hosts Michelle Grewe from http://crumpetsandbollocks.com/ (sentence thinker upper)
and Kirstenjill Hudkins Robbins fromhttp://rippedjeansandbifocals.com/

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  • Allie - Two things – one, I am in the same boat with the selling and Craigslist – there got to be some money back, right? Please? As for he blank space, I get it, I do. And I don’t’ think that Tucker is thinking that those boys will make fun of him, I really don’t. I think he’s smart, because very often – scooters do hurt! Bear has a few scars from one (probably because I was riding it with him). But when you order that scooter…be sure to order the helmet! For real.March 26, 2015 – 10:10 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - YES to the money! I have a highchair that I paid $400 for!! OMG I know. Must be worth SOMETHING yes??? I will order the helmet. We have two unused helmets (craig’s list???) from when I thought he’d be into riding a bike and a trike. He hasn’t been. Oh and another we sent to school so that in gym he’d have his own because LICE>March 28, 2015 – 12:00 amReplyCancel

  • Dana - Blank spaces…hmmm. I think we are filling them in all the time – with our kids, our spouses, our friends, ourselves. That space between what our kids say and what they mean. That’s what I think of, anyway – and that may be completely different than what you meant. But this got me thinking.

    And on the topic of chores, I like to think that a dusty home is a happy home!March 26, 2015 – 10:18 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - No, you’re right – that’s what I meant and I did a crap job of saying so. Going to edit this now. Too rushed. Too whatever. And here’s to dust = happy. Until the cleaning ladies see it. That’s when I have to leave the house.March 28, 2015 – 12:01 amReplyCancel

  • Kenya G. Johnson - Awww Christopher was cautious and Tucker probably means what he said. But he is willing to try. Christopher finally got the hang of it when two feet were too big to have on it at once. As for the dirt there’s been lots of it this week. Though I’ve sent him straight to the shower when he comes in at 6:00 I love it that he and kids are enjoying outside like we did when we were little.March 26, 2015 – 10:24 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - He tries the kid’s scooters but he’s really too big for them. The kids are 2 years younger and Tucker is 2 years taller than his own self… but he wants to so I’m looking. So far, I haven’t found it and YES to loving the outside the way we did when we were little!!! My mom had us outside all day long.March 28, 2015 – 12:08 amReplyCancel

  • Sarah - Two wheels in the front. That’s the kind you want. Offers more stability, though steering is more tricky. And yes, I watched a TWO year old zoom around on a scooter the other day and felt envious of his mother. As for chores, no way. I mean, sometimes I remember to ask them to clear their plates to the kitchen, and I ask they help put their toys away. But compared to what I was expected to do at that age? Sometimes I think it’s the times too, but it’s also just what’s feasible for us.March 26, 2015 – 10:40 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey Sarah where did you find the 2 wheels in front one? I’ve seen some pics but not a good place to buy one. I don’t mind spending some money on it – he has a trike that was never ridden and I think he’d do this – based on his fun with the neighbor’s but ???
      UGH to the 2 year old. Also scary though. The mom here lets her son zoom on the street. It’s a slow street but still Tucker will be zooming on the sidewalks (I hope).March 28, 2015 – 12:11 amReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Hmm…the spaces in between. The chores left alone because life is more important. I think Dana’s right – we all fill in those spaces and the dusty home means we’re busy doing life. I truly do.
    When we did our great Clean and Purge over the summer, I found myself crying over a toy or two of Zilla’s. It was by far time to give away some of the things, but oh the spaces my mind filled in as we packed them away!March 26, 2015 – 10:50 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - You cried over Zilla’s toys??? That makes me FEEL SO MUCH BETTER! My husband asked about the baby bjorn bouncie seat. I was all NO WAY. But then, the why? Just because he loved it so much then doesn’t mean I need it now. But it also feels like somebody should want it enough to pay for it, or something. Thank you for getting it!March 28, 2015 – 12:12 amReplyCancel

      • Lisa @ The Meaning of Me - Yup, I most certainly get it and I most certainly did cry over one or two particular ones. It was not the loss of the toys – as you well know. I’m going to hold off elaborating because I think I’m going to make it a post of its own.March 28, 2015 – 4:00 pmReplyCancel

  • Emily - I know I shouldn’t be fixated on this, but your husband does the laundry?! I thought I had it good with mine who cooks, but laundry? Now I’m jealous! And just so you know, I fill in the blank spaces with ALL my kids –even my teenagers…March 26, 2015 – 11:09 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL Emily, he does but I’m convinced that it’s because the 20 years of Army in him is positive I’ll mess up his stupid unwrinkle work shirts. As if they could be messed up. But yeah, I’ll take that.March 28, 2015 – 12:13 amReplyCancel

  • Nicki - How beautifully “this cluttered life of ours” contrasts with the blank spaces. Love love love. Your words. Your thoughts. That you’re thinking of this. <3March 27, 2015 – 1:00 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Too too kind, Nix my Pix. Edited four times and needs more because sucks but you are so lovely to love the words anyway.March 28, 2015 – 12:14 amReplyCancel

  • Janine Huldie - Aw, I love the blank spaces you filled in here. And by the way, I hate chores and have a laptop I need to list on Craiglist that I keep procrastinating about if it makes you feel any better!March 27, 2015 – 2:07 amReplyCancel

  • Lizzi Rogers - Blank spaces are tricky. You’re doing your best, and that’s all anyone could ask.March 27, 2015 – 2:27 amReplyCancel

  • April Grant - I have so many things cluttering that I need to list on Craigslist or swip swap or any of the other numerous places I should go to make just a few dollars yet empty my house. Yet it sits there with excuses. Soon though. Soon.March 27, 2015 – 6:48 amReplyCancel

  • Sandy Ramsey - I worry too little about the blank spaces. Maybe too little. I am really rethinking my priorites today and this post hit the mark. I spend so much time trying to declutter my physical spaces and I think that I’ve ignored, or at least put off, the mental and emotional ones for far too long.
    There’s a story behind it and I’m sure I’ll be telling it but in the meantime this is just the reminder I needed.
    Beautiful, as always!March 27, 2015 – 7:01 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I don’t think you worry about the blank spaces too little. I think I worry about them too much. Howz about we trade? You come declutter my physical spaces and I’ll do free totally untrained and worthless decluttering of your head? 😉
      Ok maybe a bad idea.March 28, 2015 – 12:40 amReplyCancel

  • Scott - Blank spaces seem to be the only type I have. What I would give for a little clarity. Sigh…

    As for Tucker and his scooter, I would think he’s not so much afraid of other kids making fun of him as much as he is actually afraid of physically getting hurt. I know that though terrified me when I was learning to ride a bike, so I started out in the yard so that I’d fall into the grass when I inevitably fell.March 27, 2015 – 8:32 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - It scared me to get hurt, too, when learning to ride a bike, so maybe you’re right. He does seem to care a bit that “they can do it and I can’t” which is maybe the point of my blank space worries. Or maybe I’m totally off. Also a dumb post that I so need to edit but when? It’s 12:42am. ugh. Thanks, TD. Scott. TD.March 28, 2015 – 12:42 amReplyCancel

  • Anna Fitfunner - I’m not sure that Tucker’s blank spaces are so related to what other kids might think of him. They might be, because I don’t know Tucker nearly as well as you know him, but a lot of kids on the spectrum aren’t worried about social situations. For me, I’d expect that he is just worried that he might fall down. In which case, you can just pick him up, dust him off, and get him scootering again! My oldest was not nearly as verbal as Tucker is at 5 years old, but we kept pushing him to explore his world. Autism can hold back a child, but it does not have to limit what they learn to do and enjoy!! Good luck with the scootering!March 27, 2015 – 10:02 amReplyCancel

  • Elizabeth - Filling in the blank spaces with love – how can anyone go wrong with that! 😀March 27, 2015 – 11:03 amReplyCancel

  • Kerri - Oh I love your words, there are way too many blank spaces in our lives but you fill those spaces with love and dedication that IN PUBLIC falls will be as minimal as possible. Which is incredible. On the chore front, UGH. Even Abby doesn’t have “chores” other than routine. I battle it all the time, this feeling that I cooked dinner at her age but it is easier for me to cook now than to teach her. And forget educational after school. To me that is what the teachers are paid for and hell they worked so hard for to fill those blank spaces let’s play now!March 27, 2015 – 11:20 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Hey hey let’s play indeed! Thanks, Kerri. I’m glad I’m not the only one who sucks at making my kid do chores.March 28, 2015 – 5:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Katy @ Experienced Bad Mom - I’m glad you spent the time looking up scooters rather than cleaning clutter or washing. And I’ll be happy thinking of you watching him outside trying to scooter or playing in the dirt rather than thinking of you inside cleaning clutter or washing.March 27, 2015 – 11:34 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Me too Katy! Thanks for thinking of us outside rather than cleaning. It is of course freezing out today but we did play.March 28, 2015 – 5:07 pmReplyCancel

  • Kelly L McKenzie - I remember my son’s reluctance to learn to ride his bike. The big two wheeler. All of his friends had been riding “training wheels” free for years. We went to the deserted parking lot behind a school and he practised and fell and practised and fell. It seemed to take forever but he finally got it. My heart goes out to you Kristi. May you find the right scooter for T amongst the scooter options. And that clutter? I always remember a friend telling me “your kids won’t remember how clean your house was, but they’ll remember what you did with them.” I love (and live) that.March 27, 2015 – 2:36 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I remember practicing and falling too – my dad, holding onto the seat behind me and all of a sudden, he wasn’t there. I realized it, and fell, but after that? Totally flew. Mostly. I love your quote about kids not remembering how clean the house was but remembering what you did with them.March 28, 2015 – 11:04 pmReplyCancel

  • Kim - If I lived closer I would scooter with y’all and then Tucker could laugh at me when I fall since it would happen a lot!!March 27, 2015 – 3:24 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa @ Golden Spoons - I suck at chores. I haven’t found a “system” that works with my kids and then I get ticked off that they don’t do anything. They are slobs. Seriously.

    I think we all have blank spaces, too, in any relationship. I love the idea of Tucker zooming down he street on a scooter with a giant smile on his face. But, I his fear – if it is indeed fear. My 7 year old can barely ride a bike without training wheels. She’s tried. She’s scared of falling. Sometimes we all have to fall – and let the ones we love fall -in order to experience something new. 🙂March 27, 2015 – 5:48 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - LOL to “they are slobs. Seriously.” I think you’re right that every relationship has blank spaces and I also love the idea of him zooming on his scooter. But yeah, the fear. Sigh. Thanks, Lisa.March 28, 2015 – 11:10 pmReplyCancel

  • Tamara - I was watching kids zoom like crazy on scooters yesterday – like up stairs!
    They were ten, though.
    That taunt would make Scarlet cry, “I don’t have to go to school today!” She misses preschool.
    I suck at all chores equally!March 27, 2015 – 7:33 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - Up stairs? OMG. Yeah, the taunt of “no school today” is pretty sucky. Right now though, Tucker loves school so we’re good. Mostly. So far. I think. Pray.March 28, 2015 – 11:14 pmReplyCancel

  • Chris Carter - oh it’s SO hard to give up those sacred items that bring us all those memories and HOLD them all too… I get it.

    And I get the inability to sell the damn things too. UGH.

    Blank spaces. I like that. There are many, aren’t there?

    And I think sometimes we fill them in wrong. We mistake the blank spaces for something else, when perhaps the thoughts we conjured up in our heads don’t actually match the thoughts in the other’s.

    Lots of blank spaces… left to our imagination. Some need to stay that way, and perhaps others? Need to be filled accurately.

    LOVE that idea.March 27, 2015 – 11:58 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I think you’re right about sometimes filling in the blank spaces with the wrong things, Chris, like assuming somebody is angry or something when really they are just reflecting or hurting or lost in their own blank spaces.March 28, 2015 – 11:16 pmReplyCancel

  • Marcia @ Menopausal Mother - I think it’s wonderful that you’re going to go ahead and give him the chance to try the scooter–when he feels ready to do it. That way it will be his choice and make him feel more comfortable because he will be the decision maker on this. You’re such a good mom! xoMarch 28, 2015 – 12:50 amReplyCancel

  • Kirstenjill Hudkins Robbins - Probably the wrong things to pick up on, but my takeaways were “dayum, her man does laundry?” and “those neighborhood kids are little a-holes.” T is just fine, mom. And so are you. Have fun scootering!!!March 28, 2015 – 5:13 amReplyCancel

  • Michelle AKA Crumpets and Bollocks - I think it’s a good idea to get him that scooter. Just remind him that falling down is part of the learning, and if the other kids make fun of him for it, just scream, “Whatever. Your mom couldn’t do any better.” Meanwhile, I’m glad I’m not the only one who totally avoids my chores to do things for my kids. When he grows up, he’s not going to remember, “My awesome mom gave away my baby clothes to goodwill,” no he’s going to remember, “My awesome mom got me that scooter I was afraid to try.” We only live once, and we want to be good memories to our children. You know? So basically I’m saying I have mounds of baby clothes. Every time I start to sort through it, rewashing it for the gazillionth time to give away, my kids dump it in dirty clothes to use the box for something. My bedroom is covered in dirty clothes and clean clothes on the floor, so bad I’m afraid to get a kitten. It might get sucked into the abyss of clothes never to be seen again.March 28, 2015 – 7:38 amReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - YES to the good memories – and only living once and to saying forget the stupid chores and living. LOL to getting a kitten. I’m allergic so ain’t gonna happen but man oh man. I can relate!March 29, 2015 – 12:33 amReplyCancel

  • My Inner Chick - ****I’m also thinking about the Blank Spaces. Those filled with love, and those filled with the unsaid.***

    I just fucking love you.

    That’s all.

    xMarch 28, 2015 – 3:12 pmReplyCancel

  • Allison carter - YES to dirt – and blank space are ok – and I am so glad you googled scooters – and yes, all kids fly someday. ALL OF THEM. I know this, because I flew as a kid.
    I love.March 28, 2015 – 9:09 pmReplyCancel

    • Kristi Campbell - I read your post last night from my phone and YES TO THE DIRT. Finally went back to read it again – so beautiful. Here’s to flying, you.March 29, 2015 – 7:17 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa Moskowitz Sadikman - I like how you moved from chores into filling the blank spaces for Tucker, which is also a kind of work, but one that’s not so clear all the time, one you must do because you’re his mom. I think we all do this with our kids at different times and it’s like a puzzle we have to put together so they can see how it — life — fits for them, on them, in them. Loved the pace of this post.March 29, 2015 – 11:51 pmReplyCancel

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