Thursday, March 14, 2013

If you want your children to clean, I recommend any number of the exterminator reality shows on TV. Now, one might wonder “How many exterminator shows does one nation need?” Well baby, this is America; you can have as many exterminator shows as you want.  Now why anyone wants any shows devoted to the eradication of bugs is another thing.

Well except, it’s particularly helpful when it comes to motivating children to clean. I stumbled upon this discovery quite by accident. It all started by allowing the father figure to have control of the remote. If that happens, well, you get to watch marathons of bug killing.

Visions of people ripping apart walls, bugs cascading down is really, really disturbing.  It should give any person the heebee jeebees. And it certainly did to Baba. She waltzed in the house after playing outside all day. Neither Baba nor Baby is particularly dedicated to cleaning. In fact, I wish I were as blind to other people’s failing as my children are to errant weeds. However, she was entranced by the horror that was unfolding on the screen.

First she asked “tWhat is that?” “Oh those are a bunch of bugs living in someone’s house.” “How’d they get there?” “Oh, they didn’t keep it very clean.” By this time. She was backing down the hallway, eyes still fixated on the invasion. Baby came in, stared and asked “What is that?” Baba bellowed from her bedroom “Baby come here now! We have to clean our room so there are no bugs!” Mac heard bugs and went charging. He didn’t understanding the reasoning behind wanting to bugs outside of the home.

Which most likely explains why I found three boxes of earth worms under his bed. Conscientious son that he is, he did hide the boxes under his bed, where his mother couldn’t see them. And he also poked holes all over the boxes, so the worms could breathe. If I had thought about it, I should have wondered where the boxes containing their new shoes had so conveniently had disappeared to.  I think I was coasting on my post-exterminator high and assumed they were still fighting bugs. Not bringing in bugs to feed worms. Although since the worms were invited guests, I guess I shouldn’t have assumed that exterminators would address worms.

I discovered the worms, not because I was particularly motivated after a night of observing bug slaughter. I was cleaning, and asked the Mac to take care of the flowers that he had given me. It’s not that I didn’t love the bouquets of clover and dandelions. Baby had been bringing me some too. It’s just Mac’s delivery required refinement. That is, he really needed to stop flinging open the sliding door, shouting “here mom, these are for you!” And then running off.

My expectation, and therein was my oversight having any sort of expectation, was that he would pick up the assorted weeds, given with the deepest of affection, and stick them in the same plastic cup that Baby selected for her weeds, err flowers. But instead, ever the multitasking expert, Mac gathered up the flowers and ran to his room. I knew enough to know that a follow up was necessary. And that’s when I caught Mac feeding my flowers to his worms.

We returned the worms to their more natural habitat. Next to the bunny bomb shelters they all had spent all afternoon building. And stocking with the carrots that I had given them as a snack. I’m not sure where the bunnies were supposed to come from. It sounded as if they assumed the bunnies would be the bombs. But I didn’t really follow that up. I had to make sure that all living creatures were indeed in the backyard.

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