slice of life

There’s no use crying over spilt milk. #sol16

It was one of those I-can’t-believe-I-just-did-that kind of moments.

I pulled the whole milk from its shelf as I prepared Isabelle’s breakfast. Suddenly, I lost my grasp on it. The container flew out of my hand and into the cabinet. It splattered all over the floor, two kitchen cabinets, and the oven.

“Oh no!”

“What’s wrong?” Isabelle called from her playroom.

“I dropped the milk and it’s — everywhere!”

“Do you need help?” she asked.

I thought of the times my dear Dad has said, “you can help by not helping.” I wanted to say that to Isabelle, but I didn’t think she was old enough to understand that I was saying it because I could do it faster myself. Um… you could hand me some towels,” I called.

“Um… you could hand me some towels,” I called.

Isabelle scampered into the kitchen, saw the huge puddle of milk on the floor and the lines of milk streaming down the cabinets, and stared. “Oh, that’s not good, Mommy.”

I laughed. It really wasn’t good.

I lifted the carton from the floor and righted it only to discover it had split open on the side seam of the carton. More milk came gushing out as I hustled toward the kitchen sink.

“Oh dear!” Isabelle said. (Yes, she said oh dear. Sometimes I think she’s a 95-year-old woman trapped inside of a five-year-old body.)

I held the dripping container over the kitchen sink, grabbed one of her cups, and poured some fresh milk into the cup. Then, I dumped the rest of the milk into the sink, crushed the container, and carried it to the garbage can.

“You made a mess,” Isabelle said.

“I really did,” I replied. “Try not to step in it,” I said gesturing to, well, the entire kitchen floor.

“You know, Mommy. I’m gonna to sit down at the table while you clean up.”

It was as if she read my mind. Somehow, she knew I didn’t want help. And she let me. And for that reason, I cleaned up the spilt milk — using every dish towel in the kitchen — by myself.

I used every dish towel in the kitchen for the clean-up. But I’m happy to report, my cabinets and floor are milk-free now.

Guess what I picked up at the store to replace the almost-full carton of milk I dropped this morning?
Guess what I picked up at the store to replace the almost-full carton of milk I dropped this morning?


Head over to  for more slices of life.
Head over to for more slices of life.

30 thoughts on “There’s no use crying over spilt milk. #sol16

  1. This post made me smile. I could just picture the whole thing. “Oh dear” there is just something so sweet about little bodies using big people phrases. I’m glad you found the moment to appreciate this spilled milk.

  2. We live parallel lives, my friend. Jackson is learning to use “real” cups these days and has spilled several whole cups recently. Each time, he wants so badly to help clean up, but he’s just too little to understand how to stay out of the milk. You can just picture the meltdowns. Sigh.

  3. You title was very similar to mine today…but mine was used figuratively and yours certainly literally!! I debated on spilled vs. spilt. I looked it up and saw it both ways. Do you know why/how the difference. Is it like drug and dragged or hung and hanged? Just curious…..

  4. It was a milk spilling kind of day! This makes me laugh. Your dad’s “you can help me by not helping,” Wow. That takes me back to my grandparents and parents. It sounds like she’s learning from your actions, actually. Over the course of many slices, you’ve described observing the situation before acting. I bet she’s picked that up from mom. But then again, who knows… I do hate it when I’m the guilty spiller and not just the constant cleaner of the spills!

  5. Been there. Done that. In the moment it’s quite frustrating and you can’t say what you really want to say with little ears. So … the positive? The clean floor and cabinets! 🙂 Way to make a mess into a masterpiece of a slice!

  6. “Oh dear!” is right! How wonderful that you were able to censor the help-by-not-helping voice because it sounds as though you got laughter and lightness out of a moment that could have been tense instead. Your daughter is clearly wise beyond her years! Thanks for sharing this messy moment!

  7. What a sweet (although frustrating) small moment! The portrait you paint of your daughter and of your relationship with your daughter in this moment of frustration is simply lovely. I love the “oh dear”.

  8. This cracks me up. (Not as a Mama who has had to clean up large messes of course.) Isabelle’s reaction, “Oh Dear” is too funny. I think our kids know us better than we do sometimes. “It was as if she read my mind.”

  9. It sounds like your daughter is the best kind of helper, whether she actually gets her hands on the mess or not! This is such a relatable piece–I love how the dialogue moves your story along.

    1. She is a sweetheart 90% of the time. Even with the 10% that is stubborn and tough, I wouldn’t trade her for anything in the world. She is such a ray of light in our lives.

  10. Isabelle is really perceptive. She knew just what you needed without you having to say anything. This post makes me remember a tine when I set the coffee maker on auto brew for the next morning but forgot to put the carafe in place. Hot coffee everywhere.

  11. I smiled the whole way through this post! Isabelle’s comment of “Oh dear” reminded me of when my daughter said she was feeling “poorly” – I never used that phrase, but a book character Poorly Pig did! Oh – and is that a picture of a book in the cart?

  12. It seems as sweet Isabelle knew what you needed. I love that she sat down and stayed with you while you cleaned. It’s like she didn’t want to leave you alone. “Oh dear!” What a great kid!

  13. I love the “Oh, dear” – she does seem like an old soul! So nice of her to let you clean it up. This reminded me of the raw egg dropped in the silverware drawer and it was not dropped by my kids!

  14. My favorite line:
    “I really did,” I replied. “Try not to step in it,” I said gesturing to, well, the entire kitchen floor.
    I could actually almost see you in your kitchen with that line. I laughed out loud. 🙂

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