Pink Toilet Paper Is for Boys.

Pink Toilet PaperI managed a house full of boys most of my life. With one girlie sandwiched in between them all.

I know boys and toilets.

There’s a lot about boys and toilets ya’ can’t help. Due to their being boys and mom’s being a girl, they tend to object about being checked on very much. Although I would barge in on them if I thought it necessary, and they knew I would.

And sometimes it was plumb necessary. No pun.

When you find incriminating puddles and sprays all over the bathroom they use—well, let’s just say it wasn’t their sister’s doings. Nope.

They might even all deny it, but they all knew I knew one of them did it. Or two.

If I tried drawing their dad into the debates about who would clean up all that mess, he’d chuckle and tell them to mind their mom. Not too convincing, he.

Usually, I made them clean it up, and then maybe made them go back over it because it wasn’t clean enough, and then when they were not looking, I’d get in there and get it clean. I mean, what’s a mom for, if she cannot tell the difference between boy-clean, and clean?

Most of the time, these guys were pretty good. Really. They hung up their towels and draped their wet bath mat over the tub to air out, and flushed when necessary. Not bad for a small herd of ‘em.

There was one thing, though, that they seemed unable to do: They never let me know when their bathroom was almost out of toilet paper, so I could buy more, so the whole house could have enough.

Mind you, they understood the concept of helping keep the grocery list up to date. They never failed to let me know when the cold cereal was low, for instance, and eventually they learned to let me know when their deodorant was low. They actually wrote these entries on the list, themselves.

But toilet paper? Nah. Not so much. Not at all, in fact. How many times does a kid have to humble himself by hobbling over to the door half-clothed, like a ghetto wardrobe gone berserk, and hollering downstairs for someone to please raid the master bath for a roll just for him?

Seemingly an endless number of times.

It is twelve steps up to that level, and down again on the return trip. I know. But I fixed those guys. Yes I did, because I was growing tired of it, if they were not.

I bought a package of pink toilet paper. When they were not looking, I put one roll on the bottom of the stack in their bathroom closet. And I waited.

At first, they did not notice, since the bottom roll in that stack was obscured by a stack of wash cloths. Eventually, though, the rosy truth came to light and the questions began. Why is there pink toilet paper in our bathroom closet? (Of course, their sister did not mind at all, although she also used that room.) How come we have to have pink? And on it went.

I offered the meager answer: They did not have to use it, if they did not want to. I let them puzzle on that one awhile.

And sure enough, when the pink roll was all there was left, they caught on: Tell Mom we’re out of paper. Of course! Do it!

Didn’t take very many applications of that lesson.

In fact, as soon as more white paper appeared in the house, the pink was returned to its guard post behind the wash cloths, never, to my knowledge, to reappear.

A New Kind of Countdown . . .

Do you “count” you kids down?

You know, you tell them to do something and they don’t do it.

So you say, “One . . . ”

The implication is that you have told them once and you are keeping track, so you must really mean it. Or something.

Then you tell them again, and you say, “That’s two,” a bit more firmly.

Then you tell them again, and you say,  “Don’t make me get out of this chair!” They yawn.

And the countdown begins again.

The children learn they do not have to do anything you say because what you say does not really mean anything at all, and your frustration level escalates.

Well, I was at a craft show this weekend and met a lady who “counts” her grandsons and it is all different. I liked it.

She has taught these two boys to repeat a chant with her. It goes like this:

–Grandmother: One.

–Grandsons: One–I am going a wrong way.

Grandmother: Two.

Grandsons: Two–I need to find a different way.

You may wonder where the expected “three” is. On “three” she gets out of her chair. That’s one reason this method works.

(However, as a child, I am sure I would have been saying inside myself, “Three–I need to get OUT of the way!”)

As I observed these boys I marvelled. They had been without Mom for a week and were at a boring craft fair where it was not appropriate for them to do anything. They shared one toy truck and played on the ground with it.

When one boy decided to drive the truck on the sidewalk, Grandmother perceived he was causing a tripping hazard for the shoppers. So she told him to stop and return to the grassy places where her tent was.

He did this only briefly, then strayed to the sidewalk again.

Then she said, “One.”

He replied, “One–I am going a wrong way,” and he sighed, returning to the grass.

In less than a minute his toy truck had strayed again. And Grandmother said, “Two.”

He answered, “Two–I need to find a different way.” Then my jaw dropped, I am sure, as he calmly walked over to his brother, handed him the toy, and wryly said, “See if you can keep this thing off the sidewalk. I can’t.”

I imagine these two little guys, someday at age 35 or so, filling out a tax form or zipping down a highway, temped to “forget” some benefit or accelerate too much, and hearing Grandmother say to them, through the ages, “One . . . “