Friday, August 06, 2004

the price of inattention

There have been a number of spectacular messes for me to clean up since we got home from vacation, averaging out to almost one per day. Today? Par for the course, so far:

A little before 9, just as I am groggily coming to the surface and DH is finishing up getting ready for work, DS1 comes in and says he is going to make his own breakfast. Every morning, same thing: 2 slices (whole wheat) cinnamon toast. OK, no big deal, he has done this on several occasions before.

DH and I get our respective acts together and amble downstairs a few minutes later. DS1 is in distress, "Dad! I put ginger on my toast!" Well, he thought it was ginger. In reality, it was cayenne pepper. Fortunately for him he took only a bite out of the corner of the toast where there was a mere sprinkle, as opposed to out of the middle where there was a huge pile of cayenne.

DS1 does not live in this world. The cayenne, fortunately, is ancient, and has browned from its typical reddish color, so it does look a little cinnamon. And it's in the same kind of glass spice jar as the cinnamon. However, the label says "cayenne pepper", not "cinnamon sugar". It doesn't smell like cinnamon, and there is clearly no Splenda mixed in with it. Not one of these things even remotely occurred to DS1 before he dumped the cayenne onto his toast, lifted it up to his mouth, and took a bite.

So he drank his glass of orange juice in record time, and then a glass of milk to cool the burn, and seemed OK. Then I made him two more pieces of toast which he wolfed down. Then he looked green around the gills and said he felt like he was going to throw up, so I told him, "If you're going to throw up, throw up in the toilet, don't throw up on the carpet."

30 minutes later? Pukes all over his little brother, two floor pillows, and the carpet in the family room. Why? Watching TV, too lazy to get up when he started feeling woozy, didn't want to miss the show, I think.

I am even more upset and angry than I was yesterday, on top of being exhausted and depressed. DS1 pukes frequently, he's that type of kid. He knows when he's going to puke. He just didn't care...

The mess (not to mention the smell) was unbelievable. I had to strip down DS2 and give him a bath, strip off the two pillow covers and hope it didn't soak through... mopped up as much as I could from the carpet with paper towels and then got out the carpet cleaner and went over the spot wtih water, then with detergent to try and get the smell out, then with water to rinse again... still smells nasty up close, but there really isn't much I can do about that. Fortunately I don't usually spend time sticking my nose in the carpet.

After all that, I really, really want to rip all the carpet out of the house and put down hardwood. You can clean hardwood.

It occurred to me that nearly all of these accidents could've been prevented with greatly increased parental vigilance. But on the other hand, I'm not going to spend my life policing the kids in their own home... they have to learn to deal with things on their own. The last thing they need is me hovering over them all the time, keeping them neat and tidy and reminding them to go to the bathroom. That's a prescription for insane kids (not to mention insane parents).

So I just have to suck it up and deal with the messes, because life is messy sometimes. I just resent having to clean unnecessary messes, like the ones that are a result of a greater interest in a television program than in one's own bodily functions.

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