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Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle: My Hero


Hanging LaundryHanging the Nappies out to dry while Aria enjoys a cooling bath

If you aren’t at all familiar with Beatrix Potter’s dear Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, allow me to share her with you. She is a hedgehog whom a little girl called Lucy finds singing cheerfully in a little kitchen through a tiny door in the side of a hill. This charming and somewhat shy hedgehog is both washerwoman and ironer for the vast assortment of little animal characters sprinkled throughout Beatrix Potter’s tales, most famous, of course, being Peter Rabbit. So why is Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle my hero? Well, she does her washing and ironing so cheerfully, singing songs as she goes about her work. I may HANG my laundry cheerfully and SMELL the fresh clothes cheerfully, but while I wash and wring the clothes, I have a harder time finding cheerfulness.
Ann Tatlock muses, “Those glorious everydays in my life…they appear now like the individual pieces of glass in a stained-glass window, the ordinary colors and shapes coming together to form a lovely picture.” I wonder if I will one day look back on the somewhat monotony of these days and see them as glorious. Undoubtedly the hard things will fade a bit and all that has been beautiful and bright will shine past them. It’s a little hard to imagine these days. But, I do want to share a little picture of my days with you as some people (people who have probably never been a stay-at-home mum) may wonder what on earth I’m doing over here!

Folding Laundry with AriaAria helps her mummy fold laundry

Laundry was consuming five days of my week, sometimes six. Since coming back from England, I determined to put a stop to that. I figure that it’s easier to do a larger amount four days a week than to do lesser amounts spread over more days. I have the blessing of being able to use the washing machine at the CBN office one day a week and I always try and get our sheets in that load. Sheets are awfully difficult to wring out by hand as they’re so long. Jeans, pants, and underwear also go in that load. The things I wash by hand are nappies (cloth diapers), my Indian outfits, t-shirts, and anything else that turns up. Wringing out the clothes is definitely tiring so I won’t dwell on that. I love hanging the clothes on the line on our balcony to dry. I’m actually a little obsessive about the whole procedure, a fact which John will be willing to attest to. I have a variety of types and colours of plastic clothespins and have certain patterns in which I utilize them, sometimes making sure the pins and colours match, and other times, making sure the pins match, but the colours don’t. I never vary in doing this (I told you I was obsessive!). I also love taking the clothes off the line once they’ve dried and smelling the sweet smell of wind-dried clothes—if you’ve never smelled clothes fresh in off the clothesline, you should; it’s a wonderful smell! Recently, Aria has been wanting to “help” me. When I have the wet clothes in a bucket for rinsing, she wants to put her hands in and move the clothes around too. When I’m folding the clothes, she grabs the ones already folded, wanting to taste them. At least she’s at the age where she WANTS to help, eh?

ReadingReading Aria’s favourite picture book—What Is A Friend?

To organize the other things clamouring for my attention, I have begun making “to do” lists. I was waking up feeling overwhelmed with all the tasks needing to be done, so I started the infamous “to do” lists and it’s amazing how it helps me get focused and at least get most of the things done that need to be. What a sense of accomplishment it is to cross something off the list! I also put things on there that I enjoy doing or want to do: emailing, reading a few blogs, relaxing by reading a book or taking a nap, and reading Aria a story. I guess I’m a list person. Today something on my list was “Go to the post office?”, the question mark giving me the chance to opt out if it was too hot. Thankfully, a nice breeze was making things bearable, so Aria and I got that task accomplished. I felt like I almost got killed a couple of times crossing the street, but God preserved me! Aria enjoyed the chance to get out of the apartment and got very excited several times over the dogs we saw. Last night I made carrot and coriander soup (mmm!) and today I finished unpacking our carry-ons and tidying our bedroom from the unpacking after the England trip. I’m going to have to stick painting onto my “to do” list one of these days!
Hope you enjoyed this glimpse into my life, simple as it is.

4 Responses to “Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle: My Hero”

  1. Rebeca
    May 26th, 2006 10:12

    Thanks for that glimpse! Isn’t it amazing there how just living takes up all your time? And something as seemingly simple as going to the post office could possibly take up an entire day!
    We love Beatrix Potter too. My son actually calls handkerchiefs “pocket handkins” much to my delight!
    I’m glad your trip went well.

  2. Rachel
    May 26th, 2006 10:42

    I’m so glad you love Beatrix Potter too! What a gift she gave to us through her paintings and stories. How sweet that your son has picked up some of the charming words she uses–I love it when children have interesting vocabulary and go beyond the basics!:-)

  3. Ginger
    June 4th, 2006 16:31

    Hi Rachel! I was obsessive and particular about my clothes pins too! It had to be the right pins with the right clothes and the clothes had to be in just the same order every time. Do people in India hang their clothes on hangers to dry? I didn’t think it would work as well but succumed to the practice as the size of our wardrobe out grew the clothes line!

  4. Rachel
    June 5th, 2006 04:29

    I don’t think I’ve seen many clothes on hangers here to dry. For one things, the space to hang clothes in the closets are rather small and hangers more pricey than they are in the States! We have eight though; thanks for the great idea as I do occasionally run out of space. Best wishes with your coming move!

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