Cleanliness is next to ... impossible

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Katie has finally decided there are better tasting things than the dog's water.

She's moved on to the dog's food a fact that continues to seal the bond between the two. Katie will take a handful of food from the dog's dish and bring it to wherever the dog is laying.

It's delivery.

She'll give the dog a handful and save a few pieces for herself.

I don't think the dog likes her any better for it, especially when Katie's aim isn't that great, but her arm is. But, the fact that Katie does it at all, I think, helps the dog to tolerate her more.

Eating dog food must be genetic. I can remember doing it myself. I still contend it isn't half bad (that contention is based on memory only, not recent experience). Besides, considering the chemicals they put in human food, dog food can't be that bad for you. In fact, I'll bet dog food manufacturing is held to higher standards than human food.

Have you ever opened a can of dog food and wanted to heat it up and serve it on toast? Nothing I cook smells that good or looks that rich.

We don't encourage Katie to eat dog food, but we don't yell, jump up, and knock it out of her hands either. We don't rinse her mouth out or spray her hands with Lysol.

That anality (if it ever existed) disappeared when our house became the home of two people under three-feet tall.

We realized that the days of supreme cleanliness (if they ever existed) are over. We also realized that we can't have nice things. Our most economical decision (and we have discussed it) would be to redo the whole house in sloped concrete with a big drain in the middle. The only permanent fixture would be a long hose.

Unfortunately, it's not doable. I like the warmth of a house that has personality and knickknacks mine used to, but the number of knickknacks is decreasing in proportion to Katie's reach.

We had a beautiful, three-foot high, hand painted ceramic likeness of an Native American woman a cherished gift from friends upon their return from Mexico.

It's dust.

In Katie's defense, it wasn't an act of wanton destruction. It was a lets call it an experiment in unbalance. She thought the statue could save her from the effects of gravity.

No one was happy with the end result.

I guess this is a test of my attachment to physical things like carpet and walls.

They can't be nice either.

When you feed Katie something she doesn't like, she's pretty clear about it. She'll either fling it in the direction of the dog or grind it into the carpet.

Between dripping bottles, spit up and Katie's new ability to remove her diaper herself, not to mention the competition between the dog and Katie over what territory belongs to each, we shampoo the carpet a lot.

A lot.

But the carpet isn't the only thing that suffers. Katie's got this thing for red markers. And I have a lot of them. I don't even know where they all are, but Katie's rooting them out one by one. She's very discrete about it. And, for some reason, she loves writing on her hand. She about gave me a heart attack the first time I saw that bright red covering her palm and flowing down her wrist.

What comes around goes around.

She had a major tissy when I took the pen, put it out of her reach and attacked her with a washcloth.

If it were only writing on herself, I could handle that. She hates a washcloth, but loves the bath and my only job is to clean the little red hand marks off the side of the tub.

But it's not just herself. She writes on the walls, the refrigerator, the desk and the computer. She was going for the baby the last time I caught her.

Yes, yes, I know, just get the stuff out of her way. It's not that easy. She's a kid and kids have an uncanny knack of finding things you didn't even know you had.

Picture a brand new dress, put on a half hour before a birthday party. She was adorable.

Before I knew it, she was covered with foundation. She dug up a bottle I never knew existed and in the process of trying to put it on her face "just like mommy," she poured it down the front of her dress.

It washed out, and off. We were lucky that time.

Our knickknack graveyard you know, the place of mixed pieces that will merge with the glue "someday" is growing. So is our collection of cleaning supplies.

She's winning. That's all there is to it. We don't have the energy to counter the destruction wreaked by a 2-year-old.

Besides. That's what being two is all about.

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