In 2004, my brother emailed me that I should think about submitting an essay to NPR’s then new series, This I Believe. About a year later, near the end of my daughter’s second year of life, this playful reflection is what I wrote. I never did submit it to NPR, just posted it to my long-defunct blog, Today in the Life. Anyway, enjoy!
I believe that housework offers its own reward, and those who perform it are bounty hunters.
I believe that getting a toddler – much less two or three of them – fed, dressed and in the car should be an Olympic event.
I believe that dried-out baby-cut carrots left out since yesterday hold nutritional mysteries as yet unexplored.
I believe that baths are a form of entertainment and naps are a prerequisite for mental health.
I believe that if you can get your children to play quietly in the other room while you do dishes, you have done your part for world peace.
I believe in caffeine.
I believe that someday, somewhere, a housewife, a homemaker, a stay-at-home mom will combine hot cocoa, stain remover, breast milk, fingernail polish, baby spit-up and bubble bath into a drug that will cure all known disease.
I believe that a full night’s sleep is a myth perpetuated by the childless.
I believe that food on the floor is clean until proven dirty.
I believe that no one knows more deeply and precisely what a child needs than the person who takes care of him night after night and day after day. And that person probably desperately needs a night out with her friends.
I believe that if I can get the bathroom to myself for five minutes I can achieve Nirvana. Or listen to Nirvana. Either way it’s unlikely to happen.
I believe that teething should be medicated to the fullest extent of the law and that peanut butter comprises a whole dietary system.
I believe that if I can make it through the next 16 years of colds, nocturnal stomach aches, t-ball games, library books, school projects, skinned knees, Barbies, slumber parties, text messaging, social scenes and college applications, this toddler whose nose I wipe, whose diaper I change, whose cries I comfort, might just become someone I will absolutely hate letting go of.
This I believe.