“I wanted a perfect ending. Now I've learned, the hard way, that some poems don't rhyme, and some stories don't have a clear beginning, middle, and end. Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”Gilda Radner

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Only Boys

I've been rather shy about boldly declaring: THIS is what it's like to be the mother of boys, definitively. In the past, if I point out, ugh, driving them to sports, or ugh, they play so rough, I'm inevitably confronted by the indignant mother of a girl who's all, "My girl is just as athletic/rough/mouthy/physical/messy/etc as any boy." And I get it. I went to an all-girls high school, where they were great at empowering us and making us all well aware that we could do anything THEY could do better. THEY being the boys.

So, yeah.

But here is one thing I'm pretty sure is unique to being the mother of all boys.

The gross bathroom.

I'm going to start by saying that when they reach a point where I think it would work out well for me, I'm making them do all the cleaning. Right now, I don't think asking that of them would be beneficial to me. It isn't worth the fight and the re-do.

I consider myself a very clean person, and I also think I'm a pretty good mother. Those things combined should equal some tidy, fastidious children, but, shockingly, it doesn't seem to follow in that way. Joey and Noah understand that having a clean bathroom is the ideal. They are quite reasonable when I point out the situation behind the toilet. Day after day. Hour after hour.

"Boys, do you understand that you have to aim into the toilet?"

"Boys, do you see how there's a hole in the bottom of the toilet? Can you point the pee that way?"

"Boys, you know it's never a good idea to pee in the same toilet at the same time, right?"

"Yes, Mom."

"Sure, Mom."

"OF COURSE, MOM." (Bold and italics here because it's my favorite response and they know it, but forever use it against me, like telling me I'm pretty.)

And yet, every time I go in the bathroom, the grout around the toilet is just a shade too dark. There's a funk in the air I don't care to describe to you. There's the issue of the baseboards behind the toilet, also not worth sharing in detail. And all I'm left with is the bewildered, "What the hell?"

I said to our babysitter the other day, "It's very important to me that you know I clean that bathroom every single day, multiple times a day." And I do. Bleach. Spray bottle. Scrub, scrub, scrub. You can't mop it, you know. It's all hands and knees and cheek pressed to the toilet bowl as I reach around with a rag or even a paper towel, pressing the bleach into the porous grout, soaking up you don't want to know what but can probably guess. So, yes, please world, acknowledge my efforts.

You know what the babysitter said? "Okay." Like, all condescending. Like, yeah right, Mary Pat. That bathroom looks like ogres had a pee party for a week without quitting and you just let it slide.

And how about the fact that Noah announced he was heading in to take a shower, and I saw him shed his clothes (he's the sort of fellow who leaves a trail behind him in case he might lose his way and need to retrace his steps) and I heard the shower door close, and then....nothing. No water running. No fumbling with a shampoo bottle. Total. Silence.

"Noah?" I called, entering the bathroom. "Are you okay?" I asked, opening the shower door to check on my second-born.

Only to find him standing there, free and loose, peeing all every which and where (because don't underestimate the power of projectile and trajectory and all the other jects that were going on), and looking like he was quite enjoying the freedom to just Let it go, let it goooo, because apparently he just couldn't hold it back anymore.

Never mind that the toilet is a mere twenty-four inches from the shower, and looks to me like it's far more accessible in a hurry.

"What are you doing?" I cried in horror. Because, like I said, I'm a pretty clean person. I'm also reasonable. If you're going to pee in the shower, at least let the water run and wash it down the drain. And once that thought came into my head, I was further horrified that it's come to that, where I'd have a condition where it would be okay to pee in the shower.

"I'm going to the bathroom," he said, looking from side to side like, Isn't it obvious, you idiot?

"You can't do this!" I said. "You can't! It's not okay! Animals do this, not people! Not Bieleckis!" Like somehow our surname, our family line, our heritage, might preclude us from such base behavior.

"Mom," he said calmly. "Animals don't take showers."

"But you can't do this!" I said again. "Aren't you ashamed of doing this very bad thing?"

"Well, I'm ashamed that you saw me do it."

Later, after he'd gone to bed and I was spraying down the shower, scrubbing the grout, pressing into the pores of the tile, I thought, "Yeah. Find me a girl who ever did this."

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