I keep houseplants. They are good for your air and good for your soul. They make your home look like someone lives there instead of like someone just passes time there. They add color, variety, and texture to your home.

They also add opportunity for disaster. Kids think flowerpots are sandboxes and potting soil is sand. Kids think they are welcome to play in the soil. Kids put their toys in the soil and they get lost. Kids like to water the soil.

I do not believe that the kids believe they are watering the plants to make them grow. I believe the kids believe they are making a mess that is so much fun to make, that it is worth making as much of it as they can before mom finds them and hauls their butts off to jail.

Jail at our house is loosely termed “Time Out.” Time out is generally in the children’s bedroom since we really have no other good area. See, the time out is not only for the child, but for the adult as well. So it really does no good to have a screaming child standing in the corner of the room you’re in. Besides, I can’t keep Kammy in the corner; she’s too wily. You’d think it would be Zach I couldn’t keep contained, but despite his faults he is pretty obedient when it comes to direct commands that don’t sound like they are in jest.

The problem with having time out in the bedroom is that this is also where the toys are located. So, the child can either play with their toys, or they can make a huge mess by going berserk and throwing the toys in front of the door so you can’t open it when time out is over.

But back to the plants. Sometimes it is very helpful to have someone to water the plants for you. It is kind of a hum-drum job, but you love the plants so much that you do it each day. Kids love water. Kids love dumping water, even if it is not for the sole purpose of making a mess. Sometimes kids even like to be helpful, but these times are selective.

Helpful or not, it is still kids with water. Water to be spilled, water to be dripped, water to be splashed, water to be slushed, water to be drizzled, and water to be it’s own boss. Once water gets out of the container, it is its own boss. I have a thing about liquid. It’s not a fear of liquid, but I get really uncomfortable if I think a liquid might spill or get on me in some way. It’s irrational, I know, but you can see why I hate to let the children water the plants: I don’t have control over the water. And kids have little control with those tiny little hands. So really, it’s like the water is the boss of us.

This is unacceptable. I need to be the boss. In some ways, I want to be the boss, but being the boss involves disciplining, teaching, nurturing, and generally acting like an adult. These make it a little tough for me to get excited about being someone’s boss. At our house, boss is more like a default position given to whoever can reach into the top cupboards. This defaults to Dave if he is home. It defaults to Zach if I happen to zone out while he climbs up onto the counter and becomes the boss.

I probably zone out a little more than I should. But, I think it is like REM sleep. If you don’t dream, you’ll go crazy. If you don’t zone out of daily mama life, you’ll go crazy as well. Really, zoning out is a good coping skill to have developed, if not a survival skill.

If only I could zone out while the kids water the plants.


I just wish I could keep mine alive!
Maybe you should try the dryer for time out. But don't turn it on. Then, they'll put you in time out aka Jail.
Dan said…
What about a suspended harness. You know, just a rope that hangs down from the ceiling with a hook on the end. And then put a harness on each kid. If they misbehave, just hang them up on the rope so their feet are just a few inches off the ground.

Some may call it abusive, but it doesn't leave a mark! You just have to keep your blinds closed.
mmoncur147 said…
Sure, I'm open to that, but what about when they learn to swing it?