What a beautiful day we’re having today. Today is the perfect day for soccer games, raking leaves, or… shopping for tile! Now, of course it’d be more fun to be in the great outdoors enjoying the sunshine and ramping up our Vitamin D supply, so I’m sure you’re asking what the rush on tile shopping is. The answer may surprise you. It seems that my kids have confused toilets and floors. (And really, who hasn’t?) Despite my best cleaning efforts, the task of walking into my bathroom has become a game of “Name That Smell” that you really don’t want to win, so much. I knew this splendid new odor must be coming from some new habits, so I began my investigation. Here are the things I’ve learned about my boys’ bathroom habits:
1. The boys will step over the their step stool and climb up onto the toilet seat in effort to reach mirrors, wash hands and brush teeth. While this behavior was encouraged while they were younger, they are getting bigger now, and we are headed towards replacing a second broken toilet seat this year. (The old one cracked straight through, the new one has some stress fractures but is still usable…. for now…) I have asked them to stop climbing up on the toilet, and showed them the cracks they are creating. Let’s just hope for the best here.
2. The sink is amazing for washing hands. It also makes for a fabulous piece of climbing equipment. When the boys get bored waiting their turn in the bathroom, they begin climbing on our pedestal sink. And, while the sink seems to tolerate it just fine, the wall that supports does not. The sink is now pulling away from the wall so much that you can rock the sink back and forth. I have showed them how bad the sink rocks… we’re hoping for the best on this one also. (To be fair, this is mostly Ben’s doing, and he is currently substituting swinging from the sink with swinging from the bathroom door handles, which I’m also asking him not to do….I have not seen Jake participate in either of these behaviors.)
3. The bathtub holds water, but it’ll make a better boat if there’s an ocean around it. My children simply cannot take a bath or a shower without flooding the bathroom. AND, the kids love to fill the cats’ water dishes and then knock them over. If we had a public bathroom, there’d constantly be a “slippery when wet” sign. (Smell #1- wet, soggy towels constantly on the floor.) They’ve had first hand demonstrations about how falling on your rear when you slip in water hurts, but… they still can’t remember towels are for drying off your body, not for cleaning up the flood after you’ve forgotten to do so.
4. (My personal favorite.) The toilet itself is not so much a urination station as it is a general target. Apparently, it’s completely acceptable to young boys to pee in, on, around, near or to the side of the porcelain goddess. I knew this must be happening, because every week I find myself cleaning up yellow spots that accumulate along the sides of the toilet, but, I was shocked to learn how bad the problem actually was. I walked in to find my boys using their urine streams as swords, intentionally making “X”s with their opposing direction of streams. I have found Ben, multiple times, looking out the window and peeing pretty much on the floor next to the toilet, and frankly, I’m not even sure any of his urine went into the toilet itself.
5. If you do not have to pee, but are in need of a sword fight, the plunger, despite how disgusting it’s actual application is, will probably work. Go ahead and swing it at your brother and see how he reacts.
Unfortunately, my husband and I had decided to put peel-n-stick vinyl tiles down in our bathroom, which complimented the beautiful travertine tile tub surround that we spent all our money on when we were redoing our bathroom. It turns out that they look fantastic, and I’d leave them down, but… water and other disgusting liquids find a way to seep between the cracks in them and accumulate between the two layers of tacky vinyl linoleum that we have down. (Smell #2….) To demonstrate the seriousness of their actions, I had Ryan peel up our existing tiles around the toilet, and even the boys gagged a little when they saw how their habits were affecting the flooring. I spent an entire day scrubbing, and between the glue from the tiles and the urine stuck to the glue, I could only get about 6 squares clean enough to satisfy my safety needs. Granted, there was a problem with water leakage upstairs which caused all of our paint to peel, but it has occurred to us that for sanitary reasons, we are in need of new bathroom flooring before we deal with the aesthetics of paint. So, Ben and I spent a lot of our day looking at the many different tiles available at surroundings stores.
In the future, if you are my husband, my child or my guest, please abide by the new house rules: Don’t walk on the toilet, and don’t pee on the floor. Thank you!