Pet peeves: Part two (a bathroom special).

I honestly don’t know how he does it, but my husband has this uncanny ability to sense when I’ve just cleaned the bathroom sink. Then, and only then, like a magnet drawn to a piece of iron, does he decide it’s a great time to trim and/or shave his beard. He couldn’t have a different sense? Like, deciding right before I’m planning on cleaning to execute this chore?

After getting his facial hair all over every last surface of the sink, Liam does manage to clean up after himself. Thank goodness for this! But, he usually leaves pools of water all over the edges around the basin. So while evidence of the hair goes away, it ends up looking like he splashed about in there and just tossed water all over the place. Which, let’s face it, is probably exactly how it all goes down.

This is the exact state in which I found the sink last night when I went to brush my teeth, an hour after having just cleaned it spotless post stomach bug of our oldest kiddo. “Seriously?!?” I asked out loud (he was standing just outside the door). He knew exactly what I was talking about. I bust his balls about this all the time.

“What? I cleaned up,” he admitted, with a knowing smirk.

When I mentioned the wet spots, he asked me, “What’s worse? Beard hair all over, or puddles of water?”

“Both! Equally so!” I admonished.

Then, he grabbed the clean hand towel I had just hung up and wiped up every last inch of water. I couldn’t tell him then that I’d prefer he use a paper towel and not add insult to injury by soaking up a perfectly dry hand towel, offending my better sense of order and cleanliness. I know, I have my issues. I thanked him kindly, and then tossed the wet towel in the laundry when he wasn’t looking, and replaced it with a new one.

While we are on the subject of wasting towels, let’s discuss the little girls’ use, or overuse, rather, of washcloths while taking a bath. I keep a small basket of washcloths within reach of the bathtub. This is perhaps my error. I should probably move the basket to where little arms cannot reach it. The girls know I have a firm rule about using one washcloth per girl per bath. I’ll let them each have one, to be fair, but more than that is not necessary. This way, after they finish bathing, I can drape one cloth over the faucet, and one on a hook up near the shampoo rack to sufficiently dry out and be used again on following evenings.

A couple of months ago, Nora shouted to me from the tub where she and Frances had been happily playing. “Mommy! Frances did something naughty!”

I ran in there thinking I would find floating poops or razor blades or something equally dreadful. Instead, I saw, splayed out on the edge of the tub, five or six used, soaking, sopping wet washcloths. Frances had raided the basket and grabbed up every last clean cloth to play with. “Frances,” I said sternly. “One washcloth. You don’t need this many.” The tone of my voice must have clearly communicated my extreme displeasure, for she burst into tears at my reprimanding. Why do I care, you may be wondering? Why make my daughter cry over something so insignificant?

I hate, hate, HATE, having to do unnecessary laundry. In general, if clothes don’t get too dirty, they go back into drawers for wearing another time. We use cloth diapers, and so already do three cycles of diaper laundry every other day of the week, in addition to the normal laundry load.

When a certain child decides to use five washcloths, they end up getting stacked, one on top of the other, on top of the bathroom faucet, where, due to their number alone, they surely will never have time to dry, thus creating the perfect environment for mold and other unsavory bacteria to form, grow, and multiply. So, into the laundry they go. Am I overreacting? Yes, of course. I am aware. They’re just washcloths. But they have the power to undo me. I wish it wasn’t so. Really.

Thankfully the girls have caught on for the most part. We seldom have more than two washcloths in use at a time these days. When the occasional accident happens, and a third cloth sneaks in, the girls are quick to apologize, making me feel like the real OCD jerk I am. I’m working on my reactions though. “That’s OK girls. Not a problem,” I’ll say in a fake, cheery voice. Even though inside I’m trying to control the rage and the urge to rid the house of washcloths once and for all. Grrrrr.

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