Monday, January 13, 2014

Pushing the Point

One thing I really struggle with is how hard to stress a point with my boys.  For example, when a child grinds cereal into the carpet and pours milk on top because, naturally, "cereal needs milk, Mom", you can't laugh if off, or you'll inherit the cost of outfitting your home with vinyl flooring.  Similarly, if you throw the book at them (don't really throw a book, you know) they just might develop a food aversion to cereal and then you'd have make fresh scrambled eggs for breakfast each day, and who has the time?

It can be really hard to find that middle ground, and last night I went too far.  Considering that we had struggled through a very challenging day, I thought I was being charitable by letting the boys use their bathtub crayons to scribble their names and vandalize the shower walls with rudimentary rear ends.  I stepped out from time to time to flip my kale chips in the oven, and upon my return one of those times, I noticed that the water was a bit murky.  Quickly, my brain scanned through the possible causes.

Vomit?  No, no one is sick.
Poop?  Not enough laughter.
Cereal and milk?  Sounds like something they'd do, but I was in the kitchen and saw no such heist.
Then, using my mothering detective abilities, I scanned the room and zoned in on the roll of suspiciously low and crumpled toilet paper, and it all clicked.  When Cael had stepped out quickly to use the toilet, he'd returned with a souvenir from his trip, and he and Graham spent the duration of their bath swimming with millions of shreds of floating paper.

I found myself in the same dilemma as before.  If I drained the tub and filled it up again, giving them another chance at a bath and not teaching them the reasons why it is disgusting to bathe in what I can only hope was clean toilet paper, they'd surely graduate to napkins or cardboard boxes within the month.  So I quickly pulled them from the tub, dried and dressed them, and sat them down to explain what a poor decision they'd made.  Putting toilet paper in the water is unclean.  The pipes could clog.  And as a result, the basement could flood.  Again.

They had to sit quietly and think about it, had a few minutes to clean up, and after I read them a story, tucked them into bed.  Before I could leave the room, however, it began.

"Do you have enough money to pay a plumber to fix the toilet?"

"Mom, will we wake up underwater tomorrow?"

"Will we ever get to take a bath again?"

"If the basement floods, will we die?"

I couldn't send them to bed thinking they'd drown during the night, so I had to concede a bit.

"No, guys.  If the bathtub clogs, which it didn't seem to do, it would just mean that I couldn't drain it next time.  There's no way the house will flood as long as the water isn't turned on.  You can go to sleep now... I promise you will be fine."

I gave them an extra kiss for good measure and shut the door, frustrated that I'd scared them so badly but glad they had at least considered the consequences and sure it wouldn't happen again. 

"Psst, Graham.  If the bathtub is fine, next time we should swim with your underpants!"

So close.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Leave your own "ism". Cael and Graham double-dog dare you.