I arrived home from work one recent evening and stepped into my bathroom for a private moment. Nothing looked amiss except for a little bag sitting on the floor in front of our sink. It was folded up tightly like it is when in its usual location: the far back corner of the center drawer of our vanity.
Puzzled, I opened the drawer. That’s when I noticed that my vitamins were where the extra soap should be, the soap was where the hair gel should be, and the gel was where the vitamins should be. The big bottle of vitamins was backwards from its usual orientation. The toothpaste was back where the little bag should have been, and my deodorant was on my husband’s side of the drawer. Oh, and the sponge for my blush was gone.
“Honey?” I asked as he happened to enter the room. “Do you know who’s been in our drawer?”
As I proceeded to list the problems, he picked up on the blush sponge and said, “Jane was probably in here.”
“No,” I said confidently. “She might borrow my stuff but she wouldn’t make this big of a mess. This was Hal.”
He glanced in the drawer. “Where’s my medicine?”
Annoyance and curiosity turned to alarm as I realized that his pill box was gone. He called out for Hal. I noticed that the pill box and his flossers were in the trash can under the drawer.
“Hal, did you get into this drawer?”
A solemn head nod.
“I just wanted to know what was in it.”
Long and short of it, he was looking in the drawer, pulled it out too far, dumped all the contents as it fell, and attempted to put it all back in. I adopted the new calm, rational, loving, non-yelling Mommy persona I’m working on and explained why he needed to stay out of the drawer. I explained how Daddy needed his medicine and how Hal needed to leave it alone. I explained that even though he shouldn’t be in the drawer, if something like this ever happens, he needs to come get one of us rather than leaving it for us to discover. He nodded and looked relieved that I wasn’t turning red and going hoarse.
Later that night, after basketball practice and as the boys prepared for bed, I glanced into “the big room”, our all-purpose office, gym, guest bedroom, library, junk storage room the size of a large garage. The pieces of a paper making craft kit were spread out all over the floor.
Confused, I walked into the room, which is when I noticed the doors to the craft cabinet were open. A glance into the cabinet revealed the top two shelves almost completely void of their usual packed contents. That’s when I realized that those nicely labeled and stacked boxes and folders were jumbled on the floor in front of the cabinet.
Again, the boy joined me with a solemn look on his face. I shook with the attempt to stay calm. In a strained voice, I tried, but basically failed, to keep my new pleasant Mommy persona.
“What. Were. You. Doing?!”
“I was looking for something to do.”
“What did we talk about in the bathroom that would pertain to this situation?”
“Don’t get into stuff?”
“Well, yes, but what else? What are you supposed to do when you make a mess like this?”
“Clean it up?”
“No, not when you can’t clean it up right.” I pushed and prodded and eventually reminded him of the lesson before sending him on to brush his teeth. You’d think the discussion in the bathroom might have triggered his memory of this other mess and he might have told us about it. I can only assume that Kindergarteners are like dogs. After they make the mess, they forget all about it and they’re just happy to see you.