Tag Archives: sons

A Boy’s Bathroom: Lessons, Myths and Mysteries

10 Jul

Sitting between both sinks, this probably has no impact other than a false sense of security for me.

My dog needed a bath badly and with rain in the forecast, I decided to use my boys’ shower as an alternate location.  While spending quality time in there today, I realized there are some good decisions I made when we remodeled that bathroom and some decisions that just didn’t matter.

One of the best things I did was to tile around the toilet about four feet up the walls.  Over time, wallpaper and paint simply don’t survive the corrosive properties of uric acid.  This also contributed to the decision of selecting larger tiles.

Large Tiles + Small Grout Lines = Less Scrubbing

Plus, I have a child prone to nose bleeds and the other child doesn’t see an issue with chunks of toothpaste sitting on the ground or globs of hair gel either, so larger tiles served to combat these issues along with the corrosion factor aforementioned.

Now a big lesson learned, since we are on the topic of corrosion, is the trash can.  It took three tries before I finally determined the best material for a waste receptacle would be heavy plastic.  The first bin was a stylish silver material that quickly fell victim to corrosion.  Basically, no metal or aluminum materials belong near a boy’s toilet.  The second victim was acrylic.  No issues with corrosion there, but being a frosted color all nature of yellow-orange hues and splatters were easily evident.  So the large, plastic black bin is the winner — although for some reason, no matter how large the bin, trash seems to gravitate to the floor instead.

An easily accessible hamper is a must.

Gravity – yes, one mystery of the boy’s bathroom.  It’s not just trash.  It’s towels and clothes too.   The pull of gravity just seems to be stronger in the bathroom.  Towels are not able to hang on towel racks for very long and clothes sort of jump out of the very easy to access hamper onto the floor.  Maybe the tiles I selected have a magnetic property that attracts fabric?  Something to test, I suppose.  But that wouldn’t explain the trash not making it into the wide-mouth bin.   One thing’s for sure, I won’t have to worry about my boys becoming NBA players.

Of all the things we did in the bathroom, I think the do-over I would take is the bench in the shower.   Talk about unnecessary and just an invitation to waste water – I won’t go on about this here, but invite you to check out a past blog on what can happen when you mix hot water with mornings.

At 11 and 14, I love that they still have a rubber ducky in there.

I could naturally go on about boys and their bathrooms – soap dispensers never get refilled, empty toilet paper rolls, remnants in the sinks, etc.  But the focus of this is the remodel, and so I’ll end on a positive note that all three of my boys are gone for the week (husband in that count).  So the bathroom is tidy and nice for now – even after bathing my dog in there.  The towels are neatly hung, hampers are empty, trash contained and soap dispensers are full.  At least until Friday, when they all return.

Parenting Tip: No matter how easy you make things, you’ll likely have to continue teaching (aka nagging) your son to do the obvious until they marry — then it becomes the wife’s job.

[Proverbs 8:32-33  Now then, my sons, listen to me; blessed are those who keep my ways. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it.]


My Beast is Brilliant

8 Mar

hamster wheel

What they want you to think

I just had a light bulb moment.  So many puzzling and frustrating encounters could have been avoided had I figured this out sooner — my beast is actually brilliant.  You may not realize it, but if you have an adolescent son – he is too.  I know because they need no advice, know where everything is and exactly what needs to be done.

Even if they try to make you think they need help, can’t find anything and will never do their chores, they are probably just humoring you so you think you are still needed.  You’re not.  They really have everything under control.

Their grades may not reflect it, but again I am sure that is just a ruse. The look on their faces may seem blank when you ask them questions, but that’s got to be part of their cover.  Rest assured, they need nothing from us.

They just haven’t moved out yet because the law says they can’t do so until age 18.   Silly laws.  At least now that I’ve figured it out, I won’t be confused when they do something so perplexing.  You see, they can only be brilliant because they have such a brilliant mom.  Booyah!

Parenting Tip:  Remember, mistakes are chances to mold and teach them while they are still under your roof and you can still force them to listen.

[Proverbs 28:26  If you think you know it all, you’re a fool for sure; real survivors learn wisdom from others.]

Who are you woman?

4 Mar

At what point did I become this unclean leper that my beast refuses to come near or acknowledge knowing me?  Track season has started.  The day before the event, I went into my beast’s room to confirm which event(s) he’s running.  Since I was getting little response, I was happy to at least get him to admit that he did indeed want me to come and watch him run.  That night, we watched the race and since he was only in one event, we knew he could leave right after.

I saw my beast on the field walking towards the 50-yard line.  Since he was alone, I knew it would be okay to cross the track and intercept him so we could all leave as a family.  As he approached the 40-yard line, I saw a subtle smirk overtake his face as his gaze and path began to veer left away from me.  He knew I was coming and was trying to avoid contact.  “Nuh-uh,” I protested.  “I just want to ask you a question.”

And that’s how most public encounters play out nowadays.

In elementary, it was a big deal at our kids’ school when your parents dropped off a fast food lunch and maybe even sat to enjoy it with you.  Back then we’d always be welcomed with a big smile, thank you and possibly even an open hug in front of friends.  I guess the first warning sign that those amicable days of relationship and public conversation are over surfaced during the first year in middle school.  It was 6th grade when he claimed parents weren’t allowed to come to the lunchroom anymore “for security reasons.” I know from reliable sources that this just isn’t true.

I’ve pretty much given up on being a field trip chaperone too — unless it is a place I actually want to visit.  Last time I helped out “to be nice,” my son blew past me on the way to the bus whispering, “I don’t know you woman.”  It was made clear — don’t sit by him, don’t talk to him, don’t look at him and don’t think about him during this event.  Being around the Mother Beast had totally ceased to be cool.

I know not all kids are this way — I’ve seen some kids who still admit they have parents when they attend the band concerts, open house or sporting events.  I even saw one child actually wave to his dad in the stands at the track meet.  I think his dad actually got it on video too.  But not my beast.  Even during drop off in the morning, I am pretty thankful on the days I get a grunt after wishing him a good day at school.

I am working on a strategy to mold my younger beast so that he doesn’t have the same need for anonymity around me as he enters middle school next year.  I do the very thing that ‘experts’ warn against — I pit the behavior of one against the other.  So far it seems to be taking a hold.  My younger beast actually commented the other day, “I am never going to be like him and do that.”   Although I see it already taking place with my 5th grader.  I dropped him off last week and wished him a ‘good day.’  But in return, I received a “bye” with all the same skill and talent of a professional ventriloquist — no use of the jaw, lips, eye contact or facial expression.  Just in case any of his friends were looking.

I continue to ‘casually mention’ from time to time that if he is more agreeable to having me around, I’ll happily bring a pizza to lunch for him next year that he can share with his buds.  I mean, really, how cool is that? Delivery, not dine in. I won’t even try to stay or sit down.  I think it will work.

Parenting Tip: Child taking to long to come to the car?  Let them know you’re happy to come inside and find them.

[2 Corinthians 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss]

Rush Me, I Dare You

24 Feb

lunch boxes in waiting

Morning has made my strapping, vibrant 14-year-old turn into a crotchety old man.   I’ve never seen anyone move so slowly.  What I find so amazing is the more I try to encourage or demand he hurry up, the slower he actually moves like he is saying, “Rush, me. I dare you.”  And now, using science I can prove that it is actually happening.

Take Newton’s third law of motion.  It states how forces always occur in pairs. Every action is accompanied by a reaction of equal magnitude but opposite direction.  In our home, Newton’s law is demonstrated most consistently between 6:30 and 7:20 a.m. weekdays and 8:30 – 9:15 on Sunday mornings.

Case in point:  I’ve seen the extreme where the beast actually lays down on the bed when I lovingly advise, “We need to leave in 2 minutes!” It’s like I have flipped a switch in his brain.  It may be the stubborn switch, the brat switch, the you’re-not-the-boss-of-me switch, but it is some kind of switch any time I attempt to encourage punctuality.

Earlier this week discussing the scenario with my husband, I found myself actually describing my beast like a crotchety old man.  Here’s why.  To hurry things along in our morning routine, I sometimes take his shoes, backpack and binder to the car so all he has to do is grab his breakfast and follow.  The other day after about 1 minute alone in the car, I returned inside and found him sitting at the table with a glass of water, taking all his pills, one at a time like an old man.  Tiny sip, allergy pill.  Tiny sip, chase allergy pill.  Tiny sip, vitamin #1.  Tiny sip, chase vitamin #1. Tiny sip, vitamin #2.  Tiny sip, chase vitamin #2.   With a leisurely glance in the distance sprinkled in between each step. Seriously.  I wasn’t sure whether to burst out laughing or lose my lid!

I’ve made the dictate that he has to get everything ready the night before so he cannot delay or stall with the fine art of packing up the backpack.  And he absolutely is not allowed to make his lunch the day of.  Somehow that activity takes the same amount of time as a gourmet meal.  If it isn’t made by the time we need to leave, he isn’t making one and must buy.  (Seems like that could be a reward, but right now we are in the “taking-your-own-lunch-is-cool” phase.)

And gone are the days when he used to wear his tennis shoes like slippers, never untying them to take them off or put them on.  Newton’s law in action – tell him it is time to leave, and he meticulously unties, inserts foot, straightens the tongue, tightens the network of laces, reties, double-knots, adjusts socks… a 30-second event takes 4 minutes.

My latest tactic is to wake him up earlier thinking more time will result.  Along comes Newton’s law again — the pace just slows.  I want him to be able to eat breakfast at the table, have time to read his devotional and feel ready to meet the day.  Maybe Newton’s law can become my ally?  Maybe I just need to tell him he’s acting like an old man — then, maybe Newton’s law will adjust and he’ll act like the beast I’d much prefer him to be.  It’s worth a try. Dare me?

Parenting Tip: Nothing you do can prepare you for the onset of premature aging.

[1 Timothy 5:1  Don’t be harsh or impatient with an older man. Talk to him as you would your own father, and to the younger men as your brothers.]

It’s Really All Just Snot

21 Feb

all kinds of meds
Combatting the snot machine

With allergies in full bloom at my house, the lovely sound of hacking up stuff is alive and resonating in bathrooms and hallways.  My youngest recently recovered from a cold – hence the picture of all the ammunition that was used to get him through.

This is really just an observation about something that has bothered me since my boys were babies.  Clearly I am not a doctor, but I’ve always wondered why there are so many words for the same thing.

So here is what has bothered me for over 14 years now — If it’s in your throat, it’s drainage (or if you’re really fancy, post-nasal drip.)  If it’s running from your nose, it’s mucus.  In your chest, it’s congestion.  In your eyes, it’s discharge.  In your ears, it’s fluid.  If you cough it up, it’s phlegm.  But when you get right down to it, isn’t it really all just snot?

Thank you – I feel better now.  Plus I just restocked on Zyrtec this week.

Parenting Tip:  Keep yourself healthy.  Use a clean tissue to pick up the dirty ones….

[Psalm 41:3  Whenever we’re sick and in bed, God becomes our nurse, nurses us back to health. ]

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