Tuesday, October 19, 2010

If I only had a door...

We're moving. The Grape needs his own room and frankly, I need a door I can close between us now and then.

Like for three and a half minutes every morning, so I might pull myself together before catering to the Grape's many demands. In our current configuration, he gets annoyed if he doesn't wake to instant service. Part of the problem is that he hears R.'s alarm and then the whole family is up, ready or not. "Mamma! Mamma!" he chants from the crib with his uncanny Neapolitan intonation. (Please don't tell him he's only twenty-five per cent Italian; he'll be so crushed.)

If he senses I am awake but (inexplicably, unacceptably) ignoring him, his chant devolves to a shriek that almost certainly violates the condo association's quiet enjoyment clause. And there's no waiting him out. While he'd play in his crib for a while if he thought he was alone, he refuses to do so when I'm clearly six feet away. Soon he starts flinging his stuffed animals at me. When his favorite lullaby playing giraffe sails at my head, I know he means business.

It will be a little slice of heaven to wake up without a toddler in the room, to wash the sleep from my eyes and maybe even have a coffee and read the headlines before he wakes. Dare to dream.

But getting from our shared room to the set up with two bedrooms (and two doors!) may send me over the edge. Here's the crux of the problem: The likely buyer for our place will be a young professional or couple. No parent with half a brain would want to buy this place, with its 64 steps and non-standard everything.

My realtor informs me that our likely buyers do not want to be reminded of what could happen if contraception fails. "Your likely buyer has a life," he explained, clearly implying that this particular ship had sailed in my case.

When I frowned at him, he said, "Honey, your fantasies involve a door and eight hours of uninterrupted sleep."


Since I'm told that the fabulous single person who will eventually buy my apartment lacks the imaginative capacity to envision the space without baby gear, the apartment must be de-babied whenever the realtor needs to show it. Baby jail gets folded away, gates come down (their custom brackets need to be dismantled one screw at a time because like I said, nothing standard fits in this apartment), toys must be stashed in closets. That's on top of the fiendish cleaning. This morning the Grape watched with disdain as we skipped the playground in favor of applying Soft Scrub to the living room walls, which somehow had dried peanut butter on them. Little details matter, too. I'm told potential buyers will be offended if they see appliances on the counters, mail on the desk, shampoo in the tub.

None of this would be all that complicated, if it didn't mean turning the place into a baby death trap every time. Of course the only way to keep the Grape from self-destructing long enough for me to complete the clean out is to let him amuse himself with some new and exciting diversion.

Today, as I hung our realtor-mandated "show towels," the Grape unrolled an entire roll of toilet paper. As I scrubbed the kitchen sink, he dumped cat food all over the floor. By the time he removed his diaper and took off down the hall at a speed crawl, cackling with glee, I was considering dropping the asking price to stimulate a speedy sale.

I will not succumb to such folly.

At least not today. That's why I smiled brightly, re-applied the diaper to my kid and told him that Mamma really needs him to be a team player this week.

He laughed in my face and made a mad dash for the un-gated stairs. I tripped over the vacuum cleaner and smashed both knees into the hardwood as I flung myself between at him and certain doom.

It's all going to be oh-so-worth-it when I get that door.

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