Archive for July, 2009

The Joy of Scrubbing

Monday, July 27th, 2009

Monday is “clean the bathrooms” day. It is also laundry day. Anyone who has lived with a boy of any age knows that cleaning the bathrooms can be terrifying, and cleaning the bathroom of two little boys with poor concentration and aiming skills can be nightmarish. Over the course of the past year, however, I’ve come up with the perfect solution – my boys clean their own bathroom. Yes, the entire thing. Yes, all by themselves. It’s fantastic.

I started with Captain Flail, who was five years old and very eager to help and please. He learned to scrub the tub (I apply all the chemicals myself, of course. I’m not insane.) with only a few minor hold-ups. I mean, how hard is it to scrub a tub? “Scrub until all the powder is bubbles,” I told him blithely. Little did I know that he was lost on the meaning of the word “scrub.” Reluctant to complain and refusing to give up, he dragged his finger through the powder; he blew on the powder (his eyes were mercifully closed); he pounded the powder with his fist; he took off his socks and saturated them in powder. Where this last idea came from, I have no idea. Meanwhile I was industriously doing the rest of the bathroom and didn’t notice until 40 minutes had passed that he hadn’t actually touched the scrub brush. While I taught him the meaning of the word “scrub,” it occurred to me: this hyper-active, spastic, easily bored child had been working for 40 minutes. All by himself. This was a power I couldn’t wait to harness.

When carefully instructed, the Flail evolved into a fantastic worker. He moved from tub scrubbing to toilet scrubbing to floor scrubbing very quickly. I even awarded him his very own little bottle of 100 parts water 1 part Pine Sol, so he could spray and wipe the way that I do with my 409. By the time he graduated Kindergarten this spring, he could do the entire bathroom with absolutely no input from me except the sprinkling of powder, spraying of 409, and occasional praise.

His brother, Mr. Mimic, posed a bit more of a challenge. Trying to forestall any trouble, I taught him what the word “scrub” means right away, but he took me a bit too literally. That poor little child is cursed with the burden of perfectionism. Before I knew it he was trying to scrub the enamel off of the tile because it was slightly chipped (he saw it as a spot of dirt) and hysterically screaming “OH SPOT! GET OFF SPOT! OH WHY, SPOT!? WHYYYYY?!” (I am not making this up.) When I suggested that he just move on to a new place, he completely dissolved into tears. And for my darling blondie, tears involve trying to kick and strangle me. Needless to say, it wasn’t a shining success. But over time he learned to take my advice and move on when there was a stubborn spot (he’s tried to scrub everything off the wall from an earwig (very easily dislodged) to a spot of sunlight (very difficult. But later that day it was gone, so he felt great about himself.)

Today I was sorting and washing laundry when I realized that I had been hearing the industrious sound of scrubbing and wiping for well over an hour coming from the boys’ bathroom. Mr. Mimic was working all alone. He scrubbed and rinsed the tub, scrubbed and rinsed the bathroom sink, scrubbed the toilet bowl, wiped the toilet down with paper towels, took the garbage out, got a new garbage bag and put it in the can, scrubbed the floor, and wiped down the floor with a cloth. (I had sprayed my 409 and sprinkled my powder, but that’s as far as I had gotten.) He actually got upset with me for coming in and trying to clean the mirror. So he ended up doing that, too. The bathroom is clean and in his words, “so shiny! So very shiny!”

He is three years old. 🙂

Pioneer Day Adventure

Sunday, July 26th, 2009

Unfortunately, I don’t have any pictures from our trip to the Snake River for the Annual Department of Water Resources River Rafting Trip, because I forgot to bring the camera. We left home on Thursday the 23rd and had a safe drive all the way to Alpine Junction, Wyoming where our campground was located.

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There were lots of people in our group there and the boys had a great time playing with the other kids. We had tin foil dinners and s’mores that night, and I had an enjoyable time playing with the fire and pretending I knew how to camp. The next morning Captain Flail got to ride on the raft with Anne and Barbara. Mr. Mimic and I drove up to a lookout point to watch them float by through some rapids. We had a great time throwing rocks into the river while we waited for our group. Our original plan was to join them for an afternoon run, but when they got back, Mr. Mimic was sound asleep in the car and it looked like it would be raining the rest of the day.

So, after much deliberation, we decided to return home a day early. We enjoyed thereafter a beautiful sunny day. The rolling hills and farmland of Idaho never looked more beautiful. Several comments were made about purchasing land there (I bet the winters are freezing though.) With very little trouble we rolled back into Centerville to drop Grandma A off at her home. We also picked up Ford and Tai (and I took Seraph as well, since Anne wanted to trade Ford for her.) We decided that I would drive the dogs and all our gear home, while Anne walked Mr. Mimic and Captain Flail home. And that’s when the trouble started.

I quickly arrived back at our place and began unloading gear while the dgos went crazy running around the house and backyard. I was almost done with Captain Flail came running up. He was very excited to be the first one back and I sent him into the house to play with the dogs. About five minutes later, Anne walked up and I offhandedly inquired as to the whereabouts of Mr. Mimic. Her eyes narrowed and she angrily asked, “He’s not here?”

“No,” I replied.

“He didn’t come home with <Captain Flail>?”

“No.” I still wasn’t really worried at this point, but Anne was angry. We called the Captain outside and dressed him down for leaving his brother behind. The boys had run ahead of her on the walk, and because Captain Flail knows the way home so well, she’d thought they’d get here just fine. So Anne and the Captain went to look for Mr. Mimic while I finished unpacking. I figured he was just watching fireworks with one of the many families celebrating Pioneer Day.

It seemed like they’d been gone a long time when I finished, so I walked over to the corner to see if they were on their way back. I got to the corner about the same time as an agitated Anne. Mr. Mimic wasn’t anywhere nearby and now she couldn’t find Captain Flail. I ran to get my phone and got in my car to look for both boys. I started thinking about that canal about a block and a half away and how it was pretty deep for a three year old to navigate at dusk.

I drove through the neighborhood keeping a sharp eye out for either boy. I finally found the Captain, but to my horror, there was still no sign of Mr. Mimic. Anne had begun rounding up neighbors to help look and one of them stopped me to insist that we call the police. I drove up a little ways to hand Anne my phone and tell her to call them while I kept looking with Captain Flail.

Police BadgeWe drove all over the neighborhood and I asked the Captain to start praying that we could find his brother. All the while I kept having visions of him bleeding on the side of the road or floating face-down in the canal. I started to wonder how I was going to tell Vivian and Terry that I’d lost their beautiful grandson. I decided to start circling back towards our house. As we approached the house, I saw two police cars out front and assumed they were meeting with Anne to get a description and to help canvass the neighborhood. Then I saw him get out of the car. My little boy walked across the street to give his mom a hug and I safely and quickly pulled into the drive way and got out. I walked over to hug both of them, but my emotions quickly overcame me as Mr. Mimic told me with tears running down his face, “Dad, my duct tape came off.” We’d put duct tape on his old shoes for the camping trip, and it had come off. I couldn’t take it anymore and I grabbed him and held him and, yes, cried. I was so relieved.

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Anne helped the officers complete their report and after they left she told me that if I’d stuck around for two minutes longer, I would have known they’d already found him when she’d called. A nice lady had followed him from the McDonald’s about a mile from our house to the Target across the very busy main thoroughfare of Centerville. I thanked my Father in Heaven that he’d been watched over and Captain Flail shouted, “Dad! My prayer worked really good. I prayed that we’d find him and he’s here at our house!”

So, I guess all’s well that ends well. We’re extremely grateful to have him back in our home and we’ve now gone over many times with both boys what to do if you lose track of the rest of the family. Hopefully the lesson sticks.