Can a teenager’s toilet ever be truly clean? I mean, think about it. And if you had two other bathrooms you could use, would you ever go in the teenager’s bathroom? No way. You sort of cruise by his area on your way from the office to other areas of the house and wonder how many words you could have saved over the years telling him (and his older brothers who are no longer living here — much to their chagrin) how to clean the bathroom, when to clean the bathroom, what to clean the bathroom with, when to flush the toilet, what not to flush down the toilet, and most importantly, when to report you’ve flushed your shorts down the toilet. You purchase nice towels, plush rugs, and let him pick out prints to hang on the wall so that the bathroom is a pleasant place to be. Now that I think of it, he doesn’t spend much time in there at all, so the whole point of making it look pleasant is a lost cause from the start. I’m thinking, now that I have this remarkable opportunity, that he probably just makes it to the toilet before letting loose, and then is moving away from the porcelain before he’s quite done, or is flushing while finishing, or something. And the shower? Record showers. We’re pretty certain he’s wetting his hair instead of washing it. Are you having a wet dog sensorial moment about now? You get the idea.
I made the mistake this morning of suggesting to the Resident Teen (RT) that, “when you clean your bathroom this weekend, can you please take extra time to do a good job on the toilet, because it’s pretty gross right now.” Yes, that is how I said it, with absolutely no tone of sarcasm or derision what so ever. These conversations occur with me looking up from the first floor, to him after he hears me and finally graces me with his physical presence instead of just his ears. This is done begrudgingly. He’s pretty cautious about his expression most of the time when these exchanges occur, because he knows I’ll nail him for having an evil thought about his mother. I notice it’s easier to gauge his expression this morning because the ex Mr. Mom took him for a hair cut a few days ago and now we can see his face completely. I can tell he’s condoning my instructions at this point so let him interrupt, which is pretty difficult since I rarely take a breath when I talk.
“Mom. Mom. I DO clean my toilet….” he begins, but of course, I cut him off because I can which isn’t very nice.
“Well you need to go look at my toilet then, because it needs to be cleaned, too, and at least I can tell it’s white. If you want, I’m happy to come up there and show you how to do it the right way.” One of his eyes has that flat look going on about now and is sort of twitching. Really.
None of this discussion has taken place with the slightest raising of voices. He usually wins, because he’s a nice kid who is genetically wired to make his parents feel totally crappy if they’ve actually expressed that they’re disappointed in him. It completely sucks. He has no idea he always wins these little battles, and ends up back in his room tinkering with his thousands of tiny warrior figurines, and more than likely creating a new battle scenario where they rally the troops and launch a full attack on the Huns and their fierce leader, Matilda.
How have I managed to raise three — T-H-R-E-E — incredibly passive resisters? There has to be a person in my family somewhere who has a passive resistance uber gene and my boys are the only recipients. They’re lives just seem so much more peaceful than mine, except that I’m their mother and they’ve had to deal with me. Remarkably, they seem like they like me most of the time.
It’s time to salvage the day and speak to the RT. But I am NOT cleaning his bathroom. People who stand up to pee just need to clean their own toilets. Besides, it builds character, right?