Friday, May 21, 2021

7 Quick Takes about Helpful Signage, Bathroom Breaks, and How to Drive Your Mother Insane Using Only a Kickball

It's 7 Quick Takes Friday! How was your week?


I've been decluttering like mad this week, methodically working through every room of the house. 

This week we made the decision to finally clear the attic of the outgrown kids' clothes we'd been saving just in case, and added them to the pile of yard sale merchandise in the garage.

I was fine when we moved all the boxes downstairs, but after it was finished I took one look at the rows of labeled baby and toddler things all lined up and burst into tears.

I'm sure she didn't understand what was going on (because I didn't, really,) but my 9-year-old came up and hugged me, explaining, "My job is to hug people when they're sad and make them feel better."

"Me, too!" yelled my 7-year-old, and joined in the group hug.

My 5-year-old, watching from his seat nearby, shook his head and said "I have no idea what my job is."


In the interest of working quickly, I've been doing most of the decluttering on my own while my kids reenact Lord of the Flies elsewhere in the house, but I did enlist their help when it was time to go through the toys in their rooms.

It went way better than I thought it would. 

I wanted to consolidate their two bins of Legos into one, so I dumped everything out and told them to fill one bin with their favorites. They happily cooperated, but then I realized I should probably start emphasizing that we weren't just throwing their stuff away: we were passing them on to other kids and they should feel good about that.

When we were done I said, "Wow! Now we can give these extra Legos to a kid who will be really happy to play with them! And we feel good when we make other people happy, right?"

With no coaching whatsoever, my 5-year-old said, "And I feel good when our room's not a dump!"

I don't know how he picked up on it, but that's actually the way I feel about decluttering the house, too. No matter what I say, the joy of giving is purely secondary to the joy of not living in a landfill.


In the last take I might have made the kids seem like they get along really well, which they do... except when they don't.

We continue to work on the "talk nice, be nice" rule, and in a moment of exasperation, my 7-year-old came up with the solution of taping this cautionary sign to his bedroom door:

"No entering unless you will be nice okay?"

A few days later, I noticed that someone else (I later learned it was the 5-year-old) had amended it:

Apparently the sign did not work.


Our soccer association changed the rules about mask-wearing. For the last two seasons, they've had to play while wearing face masks, and now the word is that they can take them off on the field (but still have to wear them on the sidelines.)

Whatever the logic behind this rule or the old rules or really anything since the beginning of the pandemic, the kids are thrilled.

I honestly don't know how they ever managed to do it. I was once in a setting where we were singing a song while masked, and the first time I took a deep breath I inhaled my mask and completely panicked. I have no idea how they've been running and panting while wearing face masks all this time.


We went on a family walk, but about 7 minutes in my first grader needed to go to the bathroom.

I told everyone else to go on without us and headed back home with him, stopping to say hi to someone I knew who was in her yard. When I excused us explaining that we were on a potty mission, she asked "Do you want to come in and use our bathroom?"

It was an attractive offer, much better than walking 7 minutes with a kid who might or might not make it in time, so we took her up on it.

Phillip was surprised when we caught up with him and the rest of the kids after just a few minutes. "How did you make it back here so fast?"

"I've got friends everywhere," I said. "We used someone's bathroom." 

Phillip raised an eyebrow and didn't ask any more questions; I think he assumed that was code for "I took him to pee discretely behind a tree."


Well, my 5-year-old is definitely not afraid of snakes. He was following me around the other day as I was pulling weeds in the yard and we saw a snake. It was a tiny one, must have been a baby, and he had a grand old time poking at it, following it as it slithered through the grass, and generally harassing it.

I continued pulling up weeds while he was enthralled by the snake, until he came over to me a minute later calmly reporting that it had bitten him on the finger.

"Is there a mark?" I checked him over but didn't see one, so I told him "I think the snake is getting annoyed and that was its way of telling you it wants to be left alone. Let's give it a break."

He ran off to play but I guess the pull of the snake was too strong, because he came back a minute later saying, "The snake bit my finger and this time I had to shake it off."

I tell you, this kid has zero sense of self-preservation.


We have this narrow garden bed beside our driveway that hasn't had plants in it for a few years, and the kids have gotten used to walking through it, sort of how normal people would use a sidewalk. 

Which was fine at the time, but I finally put some perennials in there and now the kids are trampling them. I hammered some tall wooden stakes around the bed to remind them to stay out, but it was pretty ugly and only minimally successful, so for an early birthday present I asked for one of those short decorative garden fences.

After I put it in (which took 40 minutes because New England soil is really rocky,) I was pretty happy. It's thin and unobtrusive, metal so we can bend it back into shape when someone runs into it, and it's about 15" high to keep the kids out. This was going to work great.

My 7-year-old, who'd been playing with a ball in the driveway, came over to inspect my handiwork but he had a concern.

"What if my ball goes in there like this?" he asked with his voice full of innocence, then threw his ball over the fence and looked expectantly at me.

I know my children like to test me, but wow.

Click to Share:
Unremarkable Files

1 comment:

PurpleSlob said...

#1- decluttering is the best! Unless you only manage to get rid of 1 thing. sigh
#2- Baby clothes can do that to me too. Even if they're still in the store. What wonderful jobs for the 7 & 9 yo to have! Poor 5 yo!!

Legos- not living in a dump has been my life goal, since I got married, at 23. At 60, I'm wondering if I'll make it at this rate.

Kids are the best!! At everything~ driving you crazy, then bringing you back from the brink, with just some hugs and kisses.
Thank you for being you! Your wit, humor, and sharing your kids always makes my day!