Thursday, September 10, 2009

Natural Consequences of Tough Love

This summer was the first summer I'd not had off since 2004. This summer was the first time my children were left home alone. My eldest is fifteen and the youngest, nine. I felt that the eldest could attend to the youngest until I arrived home at around 2PM in the afternoon. Overall, the experience was not negative and the two got along fine enough.

I also felt that since my eldest was now fifteen, driving and texting, but not at the same time, that he should be responsible for cleaning his own bathroom. We discussed in length the proper procedure for cleaning said bathroom. I purchased and put cleaning supplies in the little cabinet under his sink in his bathroom, also got him his very own toilet brush; it was truly a proud day.

I decided that I wasn't going to check up on the cleaning of the fifteen year old that I would allow him to take on this responsibility fully. I didn't check the bathroom in June, July or August...but I did check the bathroom just a few days ago. I suppose some of you have noticed my lack of blogging, well, let's just say that the fifteen year old's bathroom needed some attending to.

Upon entering said bathroom, I found a layer of dust so thick that astronauts wouldn't have had trouble leaving their prints. I also found the darkest, toughest hard water stain around the toilet bowl. The sink was filled with man facial hair, I suppose from shaving. The floor of the bathroom was a nice grey color instead of it's usual white. I can say that fortunately, the shower was pretty clean.

The above mentioned teenager of mine knew better enough not to say a word, but immediately proceeded to do some honey do's around the house, like the dishes and sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor. After inspecting the bathroom and finding the unruly mess, I walked straight up to my son and held out my hand. Without a word he placed a teenager's most prized possession within it...his cell phone.

While I've spent the past few days fumigating, sanitizing, scrubbing, sweeping, mopping, and scouring that boy's bathroom, he's been phoneless. For any of you who are familiar with the daily lives of teenagers, you know that a teenager without the ability to text becomes quite a sullen figure.

Maybe you're wondering why the cell phone? Well, I figured that some of his time spent texting could have been better used by cleaning the bathroom. Today, my son met me up at the gym, he had that sheepish grin on his face that only a mama could love. I smiled back. He glowingly reported, "I've washed the dishes, took out the trash, vacuumed the living room and put away my clothes." I replied, "Would you like to have your cell phone back?" Time will only tell if this would be a lasting lesson, but for now all's right within the family home.


Durango said...

I know a slob, let's call him Big Ed in Texas. His mother did not teach him the basics, like cleaning up after himself. Neither he nor his twin learned the things most of us get taught. Their mother waited on them like a maid. It shocked me when I first saw this in person. They'd sit watching TV while eating dinner. When they wanted more milk they'd bleat out a "moo" and their mom would actually get up and get them milk.

Anyway, good job with the kid. I would have been way harsher.

Durango said...

One more thing. I like how easy it is to comment on your blog now, no more glitches.

Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths said...

I like this pop up comment thing...very nice, thank you.

So, Big Ed's a slob? How tragic, hopefully his other wonderful qualities overshadow his messiness :)

Durango said...

I dunno, I think his messiness pretty much overwhelms any other qualities.

Cheap Tricks and Costly Truths said...

Okay, Felix...have a little faith in Oscar. :P