Friday, August 17, 2012

The Days of Peanut Butter and Jelly Walls are Over

I've spent some time these past weeks painting my kitchen and dining room. The walls and baseboards had suffered indignities I can only begin to imagine and I shudder to recount the suffering of white door frames and window-sills. Among the most egregious repeat offenders? Peanut butter and jelly. In glops. In smears. Joyful and sinister at once. Those smudges, everwhere! even behind the refrigerator? smirked at me as I approached with bleachy washcloth poised.

I was embarrassed to see how much I'd missed. I hadn't spent a lot of time from the 2.5 foot mark and below, wiping walls and corners - something I should have done, I guess.

But then, having a three-year-old and two one-year-olds will occupy a good chunk of your time, which is what I had when I first moved into this home and painted those walls. Those were giddy days - fast and full. There were triumphs and tragedies galore, most involving Polly Pockets or Batman (or some unfortunate interaction between the two) and all could be resolved with lots of hugs and kisses and - in the twins' case - the promise of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

It got to the point where Sam would just stand by the fridge any time anyone was upset and suggest "pum jey?" Sara didn't even like the full PBJ. She just wanted the cute little sandwiches in a baggie. She'd lick the jelly off and smush the remainder into balls and play with them. Sam did, of course, consume all the PBJs you gave him and then searched for Sara's discarded peanut-butter-bread balls and ate those too.

Sometimes I got to them to wipe their hands before they wiped them elsewhere. Sometimes I didn't. The math on that may be further skewed than I thought, now that I've cleaned the kitchen and dining room from floors to ceilings. Someone asked me while I was working on this project, "Why now?" and I answered without thinking, "The days of peanut butter and jelly walls are over."

Sam and Sara are celebrating their twelfth birthday today.

They're 'hanging out' now instead of 'playing' and both are nearly, not quite but nearly, my height. Sam's voice is changing. Sara's figure is forming. Neither plays with dolls or action figures. I suppose that's a good thing, but I'm a little sad at the loss of those baby days.

So I was sitting here and thinking about that, and what's to come, while I was finishing white trim. Sam had friends over and the house sounded like I had a barrel of guys in it. Sara was pretending to not like it, but she was flushed and giggly. Uck. At a point, the two of them came up to get something and walked past me.  I looked at Sam and said, "What the heck do you have all over your shirt?"

They both looked at him, then turned and without flinch said in unison, "Peanut butter and jelly." Thank God.

And Happy Birthday to my lovely Sara and my handsome Sam.

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