Day 1: The Prodigal Blogger…

I feel like I am peering into a dark cave or a wild canyon.

"Is anybody there…there…there…?"

What can I say? I've been busy. 

But something happened that has just kept pestering me, like a determined three-year-old, to blog.

Here's what happened.

I walked into my boys' bathroom the other morning and, well, sat down. This is the view from the, well, you know:

Two books, two pairs of shorts and one pair of boxers.  On. The. Floor.  More on the floor later, but for now, let's just focus on the reading material, shall we?


Before you get all "Aww, Calvin and Hobbes, my all time favorite" on me, may I remind you that the reader of this tome is about to turn fifteen?

The about-to-turn-eighteen-year-old is made of sturdier stuff:

That volume, partially obscured by boxers, is called Supercars.  Yes, Supercars.

I guarantee you these two books have been moving from the bathroom shelf to the bathroom floor for at least 18 months.  So, I found had two parenting dilemmas on my hands. 

One, how to get them to stop leaving stuff on the floor of what is actually a communal bathroom?  And two, how to get them to read something that they haven't already memorized?

And how to do this and maintain my commitment to underparenting? That is, to parent in such a way that I do as little as possible, but no less than necessary.

Because I have learned a thing or two in my 20 years of mothering, I decided to focus on the floor problem and hope that would somehow magically take care of the reading material problem.  When they emerged for breakfast I informed them that there was a new sheriff in town, one who would no longer tolerate things being left on the floor of communal spaces.  Said sheriff would henceforth confiscate anything left on the floor and the owner would have to pay an as yet undetermined fine for its return. This seemed to me a most elegant mothering approach.  All I was signing up for in the way of action was to pick up the detritus on the floor and hide it somewhere good.

 The boys nodded their heads blearily over their Grape Nuts.  They have seen me like this before.

But did they pick a single item off the floor when they left for school?  They did not.

I'll continue the story in my next post, but in the meantime, I'd love hear your ideas as to how else I might have approached this dilemma, given my commitment to underparenting?

If, that is, there are any of you left out there.


10 thoughts on “Day 1: The Prodigal Blogger…

  1. I have been thinking of doing something like this in our bathroom:
    (I found that via a quick google search – there are most likely many other options out there.)
    My son is too young to have yet begun bringing books into the bathroom, but my husband and I are both guilty of bring them in and leaving them.

  2. Welcome back! 🙂
    Hmm. Well, our commitment for the last few years has been to parent with trust and cooperation. I have to work on it every day, seeing things differently, reacting differently.
    I have to admit — if the books on the floor bothered me, I would be the one to pick them up. And we have a 16yo Calvin and Hobbes reader here. I happen to think that there are some very sophisticated concepts explored in C&H, and that Bill Watterson — what an interesting guy! He wouldn’t sell out to the industry, quit, and disappeared! Fascinating! Honestly — girls your sons’ age are reading those “Twilight” books, and they are unmitigated crap, no bathroom pun intended.
    I mean, it is toilet reading we’re talking about here? I wouldn’t sweat it. Does that sound underparenting enough? 😉

  3. When you figure it out…
    And just FYI: there has been a pair of boxers in a ziplock plastic bag sitting on my son’s desk for almost a year now. Yes. A bag of underwear. No, I don’t really know why.

  4. Annika, thanks for the shelf idea but sadly, the shelves are not the problem. The children are the problem. They do not ever RE-shelve their items!
    Hi Laura and thanks for the welcome back wishes. Glad you are still here. Am going to respond more fully to your post in today’s post but I must say “parenting with trust and cooperation” – now there’s a mission statement.

  5. Oh, there you are. I’ve been wondering where you were.
    How about not doing anything until they ask you for something (breakfast, a ride, computer time, etc.). Then you can say, “I’d love to. As soon as you pick up your stuff off the bathrooom floor.” Learned that in a parenting class. It seems to be working for us. That way, you always get to say “yes”… accompanied by “as soon as…”

  6. Lovely that you are posting again. Why are you sweating the small stuff? This sounds like a bathroom devoted to Middle and Youngest. Let them enjoy/ thrive.

  7. Hey! You’re back! I fear our nearly-five year old boy is already practicing. His one year old little sister, however, happily throws anything into the washing machine. Bags of panty liners, books, handbags…anything but laundry actually.
    Anyway, something we’ve already noticed with our boy is that the only thing that improves his general tendencies towards anarchy (briefly) are actually carrying out our threats. Which means we really do have to make sure we only make threats we intend to follow through on.

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