Thursday, March 01, 2012

Bereft of Bodywash

Today's CHPerc entry:

"Bereft of Bodywash"

Imagine you own a house.  You have roommates. They are friends of yours. You let them stay there rent free because either they are looking for work, or they don't make a lot of money and need to save the money to use toward fulfulling their dreams for the future, and you see their potential, so you want to help with that. To that end, in addition to not charging rent, you pay for most of the food in the house, and more often than not, supply their bathroom with the necessary toiletries, sometimes even deodorant, because, hey, that benefits everyone, right? If they run out of bathroom supplies, they need only to notify you, and make sure you put it on the next shopping list.

In this house, they all have rooms. Some share a room. They all share the main bathroom.  You have your own room with it's own bathroom. You have your own personal bathroom supplies such as, shampoo, bodywash, etc. They are allowed to use your bathroom if the other one is being used.  If they are out of a certain toiletry, and you haven't had a chance to go to the store, all they have to do is ask to borrow yours. You will say yes as long as they put it back so it is there when you go to use it. On several occasions, you have been caught in the shower without soap because they forgot to put it back. After the second time that happened, you learned to check to make sure you had soap if you knew they had recently borrowed yours.  If they had not recently borrowed anything, you would be prefectly within reason to have the expectation that your supplies will be right where you keep them.

One morning, you step into the shower. You wash your hair. You turn around to put some bodywash on the sponge --no body wash!  You know you can't be out of body wash, it was still fairly heavy the last time you used it, just a day ago. You know it was one of your roommates. You know that no one has asked you to borrow the bodywash since the last time you used it. This has happened before, but it was quite awhile ago, and you were certain that they understood, and they assured you it wouldn't happen again.  What would you do?

In my case, these "roommates" are my children: 20, 20, and 10. (very soon to be 21, 21 and 11--if they live that long).  I am mainly speaking about the 20-year-olds in this case, since the 10-year-old kind of gets an automatic pass on rent and other necessities at least until she graduates high school. I thought about how we've been through this before. I felt like this was something I had no control over, and yet at the same time, I felt like I had the right to be in control over whether or not my bath products would be there when I needed them. I felt that I had drilled the thought that if you take something that does not belong to you without asking and getting permission, it is stealing.  I knew that over their entire childhoods from the time they seemed to understand spoken words, if they began to reach for something that they weren't supposed to, I would ask, "Does that belong to you? No, it doesn't" (when they were older, I would wait for them to answer with "No." Then I would say, "Then you don't touch it!"  Very simple. It is a very simple lesson. If it doesn't belong to you, you do not touch it. I would even say things like, "When you see something and you would like to touch it, or pick it up, ask yourself, 'Does this belong to me?' If the answer is, 'No,' then do NOT touch it!"  It is a lesson that I have always felt, in my observation of most kids, that a very large percentage of mothers did not teach this to their own children, or if they did, it wasn't taught with enough consistency to sink in. I continued teaching this to my kids through elementary school, dwindling off somewhere around middle school. It seemed to stick for a while...but not long enough.

This was my reaction to what I felt was a violation of my trust, and a lack of respect for my personal property:  I got out of the shower, still soaking wet. I put a towel around me, because my 20-year-old son was home and sleeping in a nearby bedroom. I wasn't sure I wanted to scar him for life....though I did consider it, thinking it might make an excellent object lesson and perhaps work as negative conditioning if he did happen to see me in all my natural glory, storming down the hall to retrieve my bodywash from the other bathroom.  Also, because it was around 10am, I thought it would be a good time to slam every door I used as hard as I could. Beginning with the bathroom door in my bedroom: SLAM! My bedroom door: SLAM! The main bathroom door: SLAM! I retrieved the bodywash and went through the inner bathroom door that separates the bath and toilet from the double basins: SLAM!  Back through the outer bathroom door, SL--oh crap, I dropped the bodywash while trying to slam the door with the same hand in which I was carrying the bottle. Pick up the body wash, switch hands, SLAM! I think I hear my son yelling, "Mom!?" I smile, pleased that my annoyance has now been distributed.  There was a slight amount of guilt because the possibility did occur to me that he might not be the culprit. If that turned out to be the case, I would apologize.  Back through my bedroom door: SLAM!  Back through my bathroom door: SLAM!

I proceed to take my shower, change my clothes, then enter my daughter's room that she is sharing with her brother (his old room was changed into an exercise room a while after he moved out...the first time.)  My daughter was at work, so I sat on her bed to talk to my son.

"Nick, I need your help."

"Okay," he said sleepily.

"I need to vent about something, and the way you can help me, is by not trying to get me to be all Zen about it."


"I already realize I overreacted, but I still need to vent."

"Okay, I will just listen."

"Thank you."

I then proceeded to share with him the example above, asking him to imagine he owned a house. When I got to the part about how he would be perfectly within reason to expect his bodywash to be there, he said, "Oh my god mom, I'm so sorry! That was me. I'm so sorry. I forgot!" I reminded him, that while it is okay to use my things if he asks, that he did not ask. He said something about no one being home to ask at that time, but acknowledge he still shouldn't have done it. I informed him that in the future, if he doesn't have any bodywash, or soap, he needs to look under all the sinks and in all the bathroom drawers, then he needs to call me before doing something like that again. As it turned out, in one of my bathroom drawers, we did have several bars of soap specifically designed for use in the shower. After our discussion, I put two of those bars in the main bathroom and put "bodywash" on my shopping list.

Yes, this is photo of the exact brand and scent of bodywash that was missing.  So, basically, my "Happiness" had been stolen! ;-)

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