Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Major irritation leads to small bottles

With four kids in the house, we go through an awful lot of tear-free shampoo.

And by ‘an awful lot’, I basically mean that every time I crack open a new bottle, it is gone by the next morning.

Not because it is used, you know, on hair. Ha. What funny people you are, thinking that shampoo would be used merely on hair.

The shampoo is used as bubble bath. It is used to turn the water green or pink or blue. It is used to wash hands at the sink. It is left uncapped and on its side in the tub so that it can drain uselessly away into the sewage system of our fair city.

It isn’t just my younger children who do this – all four of them are guilty of flagrant shampoo misdeeds.

And it pisses me off to the point of murdering flogging most severely scolding them. This battle has been going on for years now. The bottles cannot be left out where they can reach them on their own without disaster striking. But if the bottles aren’t out, well, hair doesn’t get washed.

And that’s icky. Wet dog smell has nothing on an active child who hasn’t washed her hair in a few weeks days.

Lately, I’ve been keeping the bottles in our master bathroom (which is a heavily protected area – no Denizens allowed without strict parental oversight), and doling out shampoo directly into the smaller hands before baths or making Eldest swear on her SOUL that she will bring it directly back to me after her shower (for the record, she has never once remembered to do this and I’m not sure what this means about her status in the Hereafter) (and about 50% of the time she’s left it on the bathroom counter, where Captain Adventure has immediately discovered it and poured the whole thing into the sink because Mommy makes such interesting noises when he does that and really, it is completely hysterical the way her face goes all puffy and red/purple…).

It pisses me off that I have to micromanage the danged shampoo. I have been known to fly into shampoo-related rages, which is lame.

My children give me much better reasons than shampoo to be in a lather. (Heh. Sorry. Couldn’t resist.)

Well. The other day I was in our Linens-n-Things store, which is going out of business (wah!) and having a massive sale (yay!).

In the store, they had these tiny little bottles, designed for airline travel. I was rolling my eyes as I looked at them, thinking that honestly – why even bother with these little things? Because seriously, they would hold one or maybe two washings worth of shampoo, and then you’d have to go buy more, right?

And then it hit me.

If I take the Huge! Costco! Bottle! of tearless shampoo…and I divvy it up into those wee little bottles…and then hand one of the wee little bottles to each Denizen as s/he heads into the bathroom to civilize him/herself up…

HA! The worst they can do is waste the wee little bottle! Not the Huge! Costco! Bottle!

Leave the wee bottle in the tub? So what? I can collect it at my leisure. Pour the whole bottle into the sink? It’s barely enough for one hair washing!

I’m already loving it. They’re premeasured and ready to go. One refill once a week, just like all the other refillable containers in the house, and we’re done. The little ones can carry them down the hallway without spilling. I don’t have to lug the big bottle back and forth to keep them from spilling a handful of soap all the way down the hall carpet.

Best of all, thus far it has been used on hair and not poured into the tub to make the water pretty or to make bubbles or anything – there’s something about the smaller amount that has finally forced them to realize the stuff doesn’t come out of a secret tap in our closet.

Well. Actually, I think the best thing of all is that I have not have to suppress a shampoo-related bout of irrational anger.

I suspect this is one of those ‘pick your battles’ moments. There are equally small things that we continue to battle. Taking your dishes to the sink rather than abandoning them (and the food you didn't eat) on the kitchen table – we’re fighting that battle. Not leaving socks all over the house and van, we’re taking that fight all the way to the death. The toothpaste war continues, and of course there is the hard-line stance that if you leave your toy(s) lying in the middle of the floor, obviously you no longer want said toy(s) and therefore we are correct in assuming that sending them to Goodwill is perfectly OK by you.

It feels awfully good right now, to have crossed one skirmish off the list.

Now, if I could just get them to quit dropping their trash on the playroom floor…

I know.

My demands really know no limits. Next I will be asking them to use napkins instead of their sleeves, set the table without simply flinging silverware randomly onto it, put away their clothes where they go rather than just stuffing the entire load into the first drawer they open…the list goes on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and…

10 comments:

me said...

my folks have this thing in their shower that mounts to the wall and has three bottles that you can fill with whatever you want. they put soap, shampoo, conditioner, but you can put anything. . . it has a window so you can see what's in it and when it's running low. just my $0.02

Michelle F said...

Wow!
Good to know I am not the only one who has head exploding moments over their children's actions! I tend to get really cranky about recycling left on the kitchen floor when the recycling bins are a mere 10 feet away ....

Science PhD Mom said...

I have won the toothpaste battle so far, and the hand soap battle. To hear my DD repeat to herself, "A little goes a long way..." while pushing down the soap dispenser just warms the cockles of my heart. Now if I could just get her to pick up her room!

sheila said...

My 20 yr old son just moved out and I'm dealing with all the #$%^ he left behind. After all those years of ranting and/or guilting, I'm just glad it's over. Well, it'll be over when I finish cleaning out his room.Ugh.

Ms. Packrat said...

http://www.chorewars.com/ motivation on a stick for computer-literate children ....

Joan said...

And just when you think you've got them trained, they move out of the house. And when you drop in on them unexpectedly, it is to find them living in a bear pit of their own making...

Steph B said...

Kids. Can't live with 'em, can't lock 'em in the basement (children's services gets all testy when you do that). Youngest is 12 and still apparently believes the world is his trash can. I swear the child's brain turns off whenever he hears words like "pick up" and "put away".

Anonymous said...

Your kids put their clean stuff in DRAWERS? Mind used to put it back in the alundry - still folded.

I told them I didn't mind so much that they did it, but that they thought I was too stupid to notice.

Oh well, they are in their 40s now, with children of their own.

Hehehehe,
Judi

Lydee said...

you. are. brillant. I'm off to do the same.

Robert said...

Did you try having them wash their hair with bar soap, or one of those particular solid shampoos (shampoo bars)? Yeah, I know...eye sting. But they can't spill it. And it might help if you supplied bubble bath separately.