I have never been a natural domestic. I’m sure I do have an inner cleaning-freak lurking somewhere deep inside, but I seem to keep it very well hidden. It all seems like such a pointless exercise with children in the house all day, and despite my mid-afternoon resolve to have a really good tidy before I go to bed, it never actually happens.
I try – oh, how I try - to mimic the annoyingly perfect show-home houses of magazines and – more annoyingly - some of my friends. I have lots of fragranced candles. I have occasional tables and nice vases. I have lots of black and white family photos on display. I have even invested in bed-decoration – probably the wrong term but you know the stuff; lots of pretty cushions and throws which you chuck onto the floor every night so you can get to your proper pillow.
I’m quite aware of my domestic abilities - very good at laundry and hopelessly bad at floors. Today, however, I discovered an even lower level to my cleaning deficiencies – the highchair!
After a particularly messy mealtime, I realised that my usual ‘retrieve-dropped-bits-and-spray-with-Dettol’ routine just wasn’t going to be enough, so resorted to the vacuum. As the last few peas flew down the nozzle, the suction lifted up part of the seat revealing, to my horror, an entire eco-system of hidden food remains: endless florets of broccoli I thought had been eaten, handfuls of peas, dozens of Cheerios, half-eaten rice-cakes, bread crusts, raisins – all residing under the bottom of the individual I had credited with eating these things.
There was only one thing for it. I dug deep, found my cleaning-freak and my marigolds and set to work!
My highchair is now gleaming. I can hardly bear to look at it, I feel such shame. I think I’ll retreat to the bedroom and seek solace in my pretty cushions. They may serve no purpose whatsoever – but at least I can be sure they are clean!