Ah, the delights of the vomiting toddler. He was sick in his bed, on the floor, on three towels, on the sofa (not the one with the washable covers), in our bed, on my pyjamas, on my dressing gown, on my face and in my hair. At one point in the night, desperate and delirious, I mopped it up with the first thing to hand (one of G's t-shirts) and then collapsed asleep on a huge seeping damp patch. He's had two baths and several washes since then, and yet he still smells faintly of eau de puke (the toddler, not G - he just smells as pleasant as any fully-grown man who believes deodorant to be unnatural).
Now the sickness has passed, leaving a tsunami of washing in its wake. Obviously it's 5°C and pouring with rain outside so you can be fairly sure that if you stand still enough in our house then I WILL drape a sheet on you to dry. I yearn for an airing cupboard.
No-one mentions the unbelievable quantity of washing you will have to do once you have children. Staying on top of the washing is, at best, a part-time job. And you will wash your own clothes only about once a year, your jeans never. Unless you actually get infant poo on them. Once, whilst having temporarily abandoned the slopes of Mount Laundry, I noticed a chocolaty stain on my jeans. Poo or chocolate? I thought. Only one way to find out. Oh poo, I thought. It still took me three days before I got round to washing them. And I carried on wearing them for the rest of the day. Motherhood has made me such a scummer.
Anyway, an innocent tummy bug has pushed us over the laundry tipping point and we're now wading in the stuff. It doesn't help that G seems to get through a minimum of three t-shirts and one shirt a day (not counting ones with vomit on them). I also can't get him to understand that by the end of the day, a damp towel left in a pile on the floor will smell just the same as that half-eaten slab of gorgonzola we're cultivating at the back of the fridge. On top of this, the kids seem to know that the big sofa has washable covers (no matter how much I yell at them) and treat it like a giant etch-a-sketch. I'm also trying to get Isabel out of nappies at night with only a 50/50 success rate.
Shall we talk about ironing? Most of the mums I know in Milan have armies of Filipino women working away in broom cupboards who take care of this steamy task. I like to do my own. By which I mean I don't do any. By which I mean I FOLD everything and squash it down and that seems to work quite fine. Having a scruffy husband is an utter blessing at times. I may not appreciate him picking at his toe nails all over the living room floor, or his terrible aim (I can't believe he is actually going to teach little Jack how to pee one day), but I can at least rest assured that he will never complain that the pillow cases aren't ironed* or the scatter cushions are asymmetrical.
So, as the washing mounts and the smell of disinfectant lingers, I quietly count my blessings. And try not to think about the lack of deodorant.
*this is apparently a deal-breaker for at least two friends' husbands. Maddness. Our household policy is never to iron something that someone will probably end up drooling on.