Parenthood has a rather surprising way of determining your interior decorating tastes. My husband and I recently picked out new carpet for the family room. We discovered we've changed from two people with fair-to-middling decorating taste into a couple who ask only one question for every household purchase . . . "Will this color hide baby doo-doo?"

Antique country decorating is popular now, but we don't have to shell out big bucks for that look. Our kids made an instant antique of the dining room table when they used it as a barricade during their latest fight. They volleyed every saber-toothed deadly 6-ton object within reach at each other while my husband and I were out on a date. When we arrived home, we found the children's skulls were unscratched. The mental capacity of the brains inside those skulls is another matter. The table didn't fare so well.Having children also tends to change parental definitions of many common household objects. Take doors, for instance. My children honestly believe doors are mechanical parts of the house used for making potholes in the drywall directly opposite the doorknob. They are also dead sure interior designers leave a space between the bed mattress and the floor for the purpose of stuffing away 2-week-old underwear, banana peelings, candy wrappers, loose change, unfinished homework, used bandages and tissue still in the same funnel form it was when it was wound up their nose.

I ask you, why do these small people who populate my home believe heat vents are like the all-day-and-night tellers the banks use? My kids make daily deposits of meltable wax crayons, Legos and a varied assortment of moldy kiddy cuisine in the mashed or crumbled state. When they tire of this activity, they use heat vents for walkie-talkies to yell at each other from bedroom to bedroom.

While I'm trying to peacefully rock the baby to sleep, I hear strange voices rising from the heat vents screaming, "HEY JORDAN! Can you hear me?"

"Yeah, I hear you."

"Your mother wears army boots!"

I would also like to know why all children seem to think the handles on the back of toilets are for decoration only? Why do they think bathroom mirrors are reflective easels great for making utterly tasteless toothpaste and spit murals? My children also use bathroom mirrors to watch themselves turning their eyelids and lips inside out, practicing to impress their girlfriends at school.

Hampers definitely aren't for dirty clothes. Dirty clothes are tossed about the floor in a well-organized typhoon fashion. Hampers are for the fresh, clean clothes Mom placed on the end of the bed and was naive