Boo! It’s October. That means thirty-one days of sensory overload, from candy corn and creative costumes (road kill–really?) to the crisp crunch of leaves under my heels. It’s not too cold for ambitious Saturday outings to the petting zoo, and apple cider has started to hit the shelves. Though I am a summer girl at heart, I’ll admit that our tenth month is a decent compromise. Not solely the host to celebrations involving faux spider webs or German beer, October is also a time for “homecoming.” Personally, I never felt the urge to return to my alma mater as a more wrinkled version of myself, pretending to cheer at football games I never followed in 1998, or pretending not to care that I’m no longer carded—ever. And as more toys take over my shrinking diorama on the Upper East Side, I can’t regard my daily homecoming as a picnic either. Perhaps, I’m more ”blah-blah” than “rah-rah.”
Don’t get me wrong—I love walking in the door to my child, dog, and yes, husband. My apartment? Not so much. Interior design gurus are always talking about “centerpieces” or the “focal points” of our living spaces. Well, mine is a stroller. A grimy, gargantuan eyesore parked right next to the flatscreen. If New York City living was at all logical, my UppaBaby would be nestled into a nook in my foyer—a civilized container for the dirt and god-knows-what-else getting tracked in on its wheels. But this is a nonsensical city of real estate, and alas, my stroller is a decorative statement. I call it: utilitarian chic.
Every night I retreat into my bedroom at eight pm. I burrow into bed in attempt to block out the remaining 700 square feet, overrun with instruments, balls, planes, trains, and automobiles, wagons and walkers, a freakin’ baby- baby grand piano, basketball hoop, and artist’s easel. Let’s not forget the books and blocks and bins upon bins of animals, figurines, and thingamajigs. Why color on paper when the couch cushions or closet doors serve as much richer mediums? Why play with one toy at a time, when you can dump everything out on the floor?
My mother told me that you can have pigs or roses when it comes to keeping house with a bunch of kids. I tried—I really did—to tend to my garden. I sprayed Dapple diligently, organized shelves with obsessive-compulsive efficiency, folded clothes with skills honed during a two-week stint at Abercrombie & Fitch, and became best friends with Mr. Clean and his magic eraser. Then, all of my work came undone. And I got lazy. And the heaps of toys became bigger than me and my Bed, Bath, and Beyond crates. So I’m sorry for the Oktober-kvetch, but I simply can’t get into the spirit of homecoming. As long as frost is a far way off, I’m spending as little time in my two-bed, two-bath (with windowed kitchen!) as possible…I can resume my affair with Fisher Price come December.