Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Dirty Gym Clothes and Stinky Parenting

I've mentioned on more than one occasion how opposite Mike and I are. Yet with all our opposites, we complement each other well.

Mike is more of the hard parent and I'm the soft one. (And I don't mean our abs.)

We balance each other nicely though.

Although, I wish I could have had more of Mike in me this morning. I had all the best intentions to, but then the softy came through and I didn't do it. I wasn't even consciously thinking about it. It just happened. --I guess that kind natured, 'give someone their last Rolo' part of my personality came through? (Was that a Rolo commercial slogan here in America too in the 1980's--'Do you love anyone enough to give them your last Rolo?' ) Even though some parts of my personality scream the opposite 87.4% of the time, there is a percentage of me that would 'give someone my last Rolo'.

Oh man, I've digressed.
On Fridays, Megan brings home her dirty gym clothes to wash. Typically I do not do laundry on Saturdays or Sundays, and I encourage her to get them deposited in time for a late Friday afternoon batch, or I make a special one for the clothes. (Oh dear, that sounds like she is an indulged child. She isn't. But laundry is MY area. Help me clean the toilets, fix meals, vacum rooms or do dishes. But laundry? Please let me do it alone.)

This last Friday evening, Megan threw her bag of dirty gym clothes at the bottom of the stairs. Then proceeded to walk past it all night Friday and all day Saturday and into Sunday morning. Late Friday night, I decided to put my 'softness' to the test and help the new teenager understand, that though I do not mind my sole ownership in the laundry department, we have sufficient dirty clothes in our laundry baskets, therefore I do not and will not go in search of clothes to launder, specifically clothes disguised in a Walmart plastic bag sitting on the bottom stair.

Mike, my complementary housekeeping partner, was told of my plan, and asked not to remind, remove or mention the bag.

Sunday morning, minutes before the church choir was due at our house. The bag was removed (by Megan) to the upstairs hallway, just feet away from the laundry room door.

Mike was again reminded of my instruction, and I continually reminded myself. Several times I had to physically stop myself from scooping up the bag and laundering the clothes. (There are many household tasks I fall short on and do not do well or thoroughly--but laundry is MY thing. I'm the gal who has suitcases unpacked and laundry going within MINUTES of returning from a trip. That *darn* bag on the floor was killing me.)

Sunday morning, afternoon and evening came and went. It was after 9pm when I found myself over the phone giving Megan instructions to get herself ready for bed and help the other children fall asleep while Mike and I traveled to the ER with Drew. (More on that later.) I had to physically bite my tongue from reminding Megan that her A- in P.E. (from being absent one day) that she is working hard to get up to an A, was going to be seriously compromised when she had no gym clothes to dress in come Monday morning gym class.

I refrained. And upon ending the call, I proudly turned to Mike in the driver's seat, and congratulated myself  for being able keep quiet.

Monday morning came quickly. Tired kids, tired parents, a freshly stitched-up forehead that was distracting all of the older siblings, an early dentist appointment, and the other five hundred things to see to on a Monday morning.

Megan was a little late getting up, and though rushed in her actions, she did find the time to question as she passed the Walmart bag sitting in the hallway, "My gym clothes didn't get washed?"

To which I calmly replied, "Nope, I never saw them in the laundry room."

"Oh well." She replied hurriedly, "I've actually only worn them three times since their last wash. They'll be fine to wear today." (gross!)

About 10 minutes later, Megan was across the front yard beginning her walk to the bus stop.

With absolutely no recollection of my previous 48 hours of tongue biting, I ran upstairs, grabbed the bag, ran downstairs, threw open the front door, and with a hero's leap across the front lawn,  pronounced,

"Megan, you forgot your gym clothes."

It wasn't until I turned around and came back through the front door that I realized what I had done.

I gave Megan my last Rolo.

I couldn't do it.
I did not do what I so proudly announced to Mike on Friday that I was going to do.
I was so sure I was going to let Megan experience the natural consequence that would likely ensure that her dirty gym clothes were never deposited in the wrong place again.

Later that night as we were sitting around the kitchen table, Megan excitedly began to tell us how her gym grade was likely increased to where she wanted it to be.

I tried to crawl under the table. I even tried in the split second Mike's bite of ice cream sandwich had rendered him speechless to send him a telepathic message that read, "Forget everything your wife said about gym clothes, gym grades, natural consequences and tough parenting for the last 48 hours."

My telepathic messages didn't make it. Nor did my disappearance under the table.
Instead, with a little smirk and a small whisper, I heard Mike say, "Oh yeah. How did that work?"

I was going to give him the whole 'Last Rolo' speech that he has heard 8,439 times, but instead I sheepishly admitted, "I completely forgot."

Sometimes I stink at this whole parenting thing...
Maybe next time.


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