Here we have two slides, built using lengths of wood which used to be part of Joshua's toddler bed (currently serving as Daniel's cot) laid against our bed at an angle conducive to travelling downwards at speed. We hid the planks from Joshua in anticipation of this predictable activity, but evidently didn't make a very thorough job of it.
You'll notice that in this photo the bed is covered tidily with a duvet and four pillows. This is misleading, since there is nothing Joshua enjoys more than a game of Baby Buckeroo. Remember that board game where you pile things on top of a donkey and it jumps up when you least expect it, scattering everything asunder? That's a favourite pastime in our household. The baby finds it hilarious which encourages Joshua all the more, and means he is constantly trotting round the house collecting pillows and cushions and blankets so he can pile them on top of his brother. And please don't think I'm naming and shaming my older son and favouring my younger; the baby is more than delighted to add to the general carnage ("General Carnage!") by pulling books off shelves and upending bowls of cereal that I've left on the floor for an unwise nanosecond.
So do you see what I mean? Everywhere I turn there's a new art installation or construction project or heap of bedlinen staring me in the face and thwarting my good intentions. Or an enormous stack of clean washing that hasn't been put away yet. Like this one. That's the buggy you can see buried beneath hundreds of garments and towels. A laundry basket would probably have been cheaper.
I've got myself stuck in a cycle of perpetual chaos, and it's surprisingly difficult to break out of it. But this morning, things came to a head. We were about to leave for Joshua's afternoon session at nursery. As usual, I was insisting that he do boring things like eat his lunch, whilst he expressed a firm preference for playing with Dizzy, Scoop and Roley. As I pulled up his absurd half-mast jeans that are suddenly too short for him following a recent growth spurt, the baby (who had steadfastly refused to nap all morning) was caterwauling with tiredness. Looking desperately around in the hope of locating the items I needed for our forthcoming journey - purse, iPod, shoes, sun-hat for Daniel, house key - I realised I couldn't see Joshua's book bag anywhere. I am quite sure it is languishing somewhere underneath all that laundry. And I'm learning that, whilst it's a great idea to get everything ready in advance of your departure, you need to place said essential items on a high shelf otherwise someone will pick them up and put them in a different place entirely, and you will not be able to find them when you come to leave the house. You can imagine my frustration. And in that moment, I made a decision. I was going to claim The Drawer for myself.
Is it not a Thing of Beauty? It's utilitarian, to be sure, but capacious and sturdy nonetheless. This drawer once resided inside an Ikea filing cabinet which we bought cheaply many years ago and which I pulled apart and painted white last weekend. The filing cabinet now stores towels and nappies and wipes, and until today the drawer has mostly been enjoyed by the children; the baby pulls himself up to a standing position using The Drawer, Joshua stores toys, books and his brother inside The Drawer, and of course the cat has spent time curled up in The Drawer. But now it is mine, and I am going to keep it in a secret place and rename it The Box Of Things I Must Not Lose. It will contain purses and iPods and book bags and sun-hats and chocolate, and I will, from now on, be very slightly more organised as a result. I hope.