As I begin to clean for Pesach (Passover) I’m coming across some very strange things. Old lunch boxes with rotting bread, a photo from my wedding album that the kids swore they never removed, and the shopping list that I wrote for Rosh Hashanah tucked safely in the drawer I never go into. These are just a few of the things I have uncovered on the search for Chametz (leavened bread and associated crumbs). And there is more, so much more….
When Purim ends, we all have approximately four weeks (now two) until Pesach arrives. In those four weeks we must search every drawer and corner from crumbs. We sweep, dust, scrub, wash until we are relatively sure none of the forbidden food (chametz) is left in our house, car, yard, or on any property we may own.
When searching for chametz, I come across much more than crumbs. I come across things I didn’t know I owned, or more honestly, had forgotten I still owned. I come across skirts and shirts I thought were lost, CDs and DVD’s I may have repurchased. Does anyone want a copy of “Phantom of the Opera,” or Sesame Street’s Numbers Jungle, that I believe came out in 2009?”
Then I enter the girl’s bedrooms….
Since this isn’t my first time cleaning their rooms for Pesach, I come prepared. I bring with trash bags, gloves, bleach, goggles, paper towels, face mask, and a special waste bin for dredged material. Wish me luck, I’m going in! I start by pulling back the bed. What do I find? Candy wrappers, a half-eaten banana, stuff animals covered in slime, an opened water bottle that has soaked a few stained Pajama shirts, a school book covered in slime, soaked pictures from my family albums, a few spoons, scissors, crayons, my husband’s work headphones and a bottle of glue to make more of, you guessed it… SLIME!
For the record, I have a ’no-eating’ policy in the room. I also have a no-slime policy in the house. We also have a no-touch policy when it comes to my husband’s work desk and our photo albums. As you can see, our children make it a policy to ignore our policies. Am I the only one who’s kids ignore the house rules? Please say no. I’m alright if you lie.
The first thing I do after I discover our possessions behind the beds is to call my husband. I need a witness to attest to the mess I’m about to clean up as well as someone to scrape the pudding off the wall. We scrub, wash and scrape, then push the bed back against the wall. One side down. I think this calls for a celebration. I take a nap.
When the kids get home from school, I sit them down in a line on the floor of their bedroom. I hold up the slime-covered teddy bear and bag of candy wrappers. Fingers are pointed, the cat is blamed, the ‘slime’, they claim, is in fact dried icing from my birthday cake they helped their Daddy make last June. I hold up my hands and give them each a magic erase sponge to wash their fingerprints and ‘I never draw on the wall’ creations off the wall and point to a trash bag. I tell them I won’t ask questions if the trash bag is full when I return.
I leave the room and go work on some draft edits. I hear bangs, shouts, a crash, more shouts, another bang, some crying, then the door opens… “Mommy, we’re done.” I inspect the room. Besides the broken picture frame and a laundry basket filled with (what I suspect is clean) clothing, everything appears in order. I check their drawers, closets and toy bins; all clean albeit slightly wet from the sponge. My girls have made me proud and have earned the right to continue living in the house.
That night we go over the rules. No food in the rooms, no slime anywhere in the house. My girls nod and agree. The next morning, I dump out the laundry basket of (mostly clean) clothing and find my favorite scarf at the bottom. At least it isn’t food, we are making progress. Then I gather the strength to do the living room. I find Monopoly pieces behind the couch along with a years’ worth of hair ties. I find the twenty shekels note I left for myself last year when I cleaned for Pesach; not really. The only gift I find is an old pudding cup. But I should leave a twenty shekels note! Imagine the joy I would have next year when I found it?!