We have a cleaner.
She comes to our house every other Wednesday morning while we are out at work and cleans from top to bottom.
She scrubs the bath, the toilet, the fridge, the oven, the skirting boards and the floors.
She unloads and reloads the dishwasher and will even hang out our laundry if the wash cycle finishes while she is in the house, which is of course every time now that I have cottoned on to this.
Our paths rarely cross and I have probably only met her in the flesh once or twice, but she has her own set of keys and I LOVE her.
However, this Wednesday I was at home when she arrived. I had taken a day off work to attend a couple of school tours and was enjoying a leisurely start to the day when she knocked on the door.
We exchanged a few pleasantries before I took Zachy upstairs to get ourselves dressed and ready for the day ahead.
When we came back down, I started the usual daily routine of emptying the contents of one handbag into another. I alternate between 3 bags – black, nude and orange. Preference is entirely based on which one best matches the outfit I am wearing that day. Much to the Greek God(zilla)’s annoyance, they all live on the banister at the bottom of the stairs.
As I was in the midst of this particularly satisfying ritual, I noticed Zachy waiting hesitantly in the hallway and pointing towards the kitchen.
“What is it?” I asked him.
He continued to hover by door of the kitchen but would not take a step inside.
As I approached him, I could make out the unfamiliar sound of pots and pans being washed in the sink.
He put his arms up for me to lift him, so I obliged and carried him with me into the kitchen.
Our cleaner was elbow deep in washing up liquid. The bucket & mop set was out of the cupboard and a vast selection of cleaning products were neatly lined up on top of the work surface.
“Do you want to say hello” I asked Zachy.
He just stared at her, fascinated by this unknown woman with bubbles on her hands.
She turned to make a start on the oven while Zachy peered around me to get a better look at what she was doing.
He watched as she gently lifted the burners off the hob and wiped a cloth over the surface.
He was mesmerised as she pulled out the grill, emptied the crumbs into the bin and soaked the tray in warm soapy water.
I’d seen the same look in his eyes when we took him to see In the Night Garden Live. I witnessed it again when he watched Toy Story for the very first time and once more when he first clapped eyes on my shiny new iPad.
I then realised with horror where all the fascination and wonder for this everyday act of cleaning was coming from.
It was the fact that it does not happen every day.
Rather embarrassingly, there is also even every chance that this vision of his may have been the very first of its kind.
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