I confess, my guard was down when I made the discovery.
“Splash!” I thought I was sitting down on the toilet when I fell into the water, instead.
That’s how I realized one of my beloved boys was back home for a visit.
I had made a vow, when these boys were little, that at the very least, I would render them fit for living amongst other humans, before they were gone from my jurisdiction for good.
But here was incontrovertible evidence that I had failed.
There are, of course, other things they do that make me proud — like graduating from college, putting the milk back in the refrigerator, and even sometimes folding their own laundry!
But this toilet seat thing was obviously a bridge — or a seat — too far.
There was only one thing to do: take this child back to baseball camp!
Yes, you read that right: baseball camp. I say this because it was community baseball, where I took my boys when they were little, that first imbued me with a healthy respect for the awesome, life-changing power of sports.
In fact, it was on the very first day of practice that I witnessed something that struck me with awe.
The coaches had split the kids into four teams, and taken each to a different corner of the ball-field and drilled them on various skills.
In one corner it was fielding; in another, pitching; in a third, running around the bases.
But it was the fourth group that blew me away.
These boys were practicing batting inside the batting cage; and after each child was through, the coach handed him a bucket and he trotted around, picking up balls from wherever they had rolled to. The child then handed the bucket back to the coach so the next child could have a turn.
I was stunned. These adults had gotten my child to pick up after himself!
This was an utter revelation to me. Up until that moment, I had been reconciled to living in a house that was randomly decorated with discarded clothing and shoes — usually left in puddles on the floor as if the Wicked Witch of the West had just been melted out of them.
Now, it appeared, there was hope! But only if I changed my ways.
Clearly, we moms have been going about things all wrong. Forget nagging, yelling, or — worst of all — picking up things ourselves. What we needed to do was set up some kind of League.
Kids would come to practice, and here’s what they would learn:
In one corner of the field, there would be a pile of dirty laundry, and a row of hampers. The children would score points for each item they managed to get into a hamper — double for dirty socks and underwear.
They would then progress to the second corner, where they would have to hang a backpack on a peg on a wall. They would also have to leave their shoes neatly together somewhere— actually, anywhere would be fine, as long as it’s not on the baseline where their brother is coming through. Baseball is a game of many rules, so I’m sure kids would accept the fact that points will be awarded to their opponent if another child trips over their abandoned belongings.
In the third section of the field, children would display their prowess in taking a dirty cup and dish to the sink. No credit if silverware falls off the plate into the dirt.
In the fourth quadrant, children would learn the ultimate test: putting a toilet seat down!
When our children have put all these skills together, they will be eligible for the Kids’ Hall of Fame. (And so, for that matter, will the coaches.)
As for funding, I am sure this league could be completely financed by selling tickets to us moms for the end-of-season playoffs: the Dads versus Kids World Series.
There may not be much doubt about the outcome (let’s just say the losers will be buying everybody ice cream)… but wouldn’t it be something to watch!
And then maybe, someday, I won’t have to apologize, at the wedding shower, to whoever is the bride-to-be: “I’m sorry my dear, I did my best to humanize him; but the rest is up to you. Oh, and one more thing: check that toilet seat before you sit!”