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  • Writer's pictureRobyn


Might just be a tidy bookshelf.

Baby Cleo is now a whole fortnight into her existence. She is proving to be a fairly well behaved baby and manages to do three things pretty well - eat, sleep, and look cute. Oh and poo; she is also good at filling a seemingly endless series of nappies. Life at home is starting to calm and settle into a new routine, and it seems like my husband is becoming gradually inured to having to get up at 6.15 or thereabouts every morning which is when Pip decides it is time to be awake. Things are currently not quite as hard as I had expected them to be. Ok, yes, I'd rather be having a bit more sleep and I've become more reliant than usual on a steady stream of tea and chocolate biscuits, but the thing I've found I'm struggling with the most is not as I expected a wingey baby, or Sally and Pip throwing tantrums, it is the house.

It might be because I'm spending rather more time here than I would normally, but mess is really, really bugging me. I don't remember it being quite so much of an issue with either of the other babies, perhaps its because there are more people in the house now, but it seems disproportionately more of an issue. It feels like every time I turn around the kitchen has re(dis)organised itself, washing up has magicked itself out of thin air and the floor is covered in an assortment of mud and crumbs. The rest of the house doesn't seem much better, but the kitchen in particular is driving me a bit mad.

However, other things are being kinder and adding a little balance. Our main bookcase sits in the middle of the house and I walk past it every time I walk in or out of the chaotic kitchen. Last week, when he was taking his week off, after he'd done the school run, my husband turned his hand to new shelves in his old

office. That this was going to be sewing room (that happened to also have half a dozen guitars in) was part of the promise of building an office in the garden last summer. Sometimes, it takes having a baby to organise the week off to actually enact an plan. The new shelves arrived on Valentines day in the rather convincing disguise of scaffolding planks and fittings. Whilst I do need to put rather more organisation into getting everything tidied away, their very existence has made the room suddenly useable and I even managed to make Sally her flower costume for the Easter concert without covering the dining room table in crap for the first time since children were a factor in my life!

As much as I love the new shelves for the transformation they have made in the office. Their other magic tricks has been to facilitate a cascade of books around the house. A few metres of new shelving meant I could shift enough books around so I can now I walk past tidy, uncluttered shelves where nothing is rammed higgledypiggledy. I've also moved all the nice pretty books down from a bookshelf upstairs which is nice in of itself. All the reference books have moved into the office - and there is a promise to fix up the other office shelves to accommodate all of Ed's sci fi books, at which point I can alphabetise them too! The ones in the hall are just my books. I like it, it is very nice, you can breathe in as you walk past. Yes, they are still sat against the wall of mucky mustard yellow, the decorating rationale behind I simply cannot fathom - but fixing that can be a project for soon. It really just needs a lot of white paint.

One of the nice things about tidying a bookshelf, as opposed to the kitchen for the upteenth time, is that it stays tidy. Maybe not for ever, but certainly for a lot longer than the kitchen or the drawers in Sally's room. And it's the bookshelf in my house rather than the one in my classroom - students may or may not have been put in detention in the past for deliberately moving books around to wind me up. It's also been a few weeks since Pip last went to collect his book from the shelf and then put it back in in a random spot. What is Pip's special book you ask? Houellebecq's Platform. This he chose when it had its dust cover and still afterwards now it is plain black. Nilistic French literature with a high sex content that his Uncle gave me, this is the choice of my 2 year old son, but he does also like We're Going on a Bear Hunt, so I'm not going to call the child psychologists in just yet. Fingers crossed, he is past this phase and just maybe the books will be allowed to stay in the alphabetical order in which I have placed them. That would let a little quiet remain amongst the chaos that reigns in the rest of the house.

All the pretty books lined up in a row

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