Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A lesson in discipline

I should have known that it was too good to be true. That really should have been my first clue not to let my guard down.

This afternoon, so it seemed, the stars had aligned and somehow both Ian and Eliza were soundly napping, at the same time. This is no small miracle these days since Eliza is transitioning to one nap, and it's at an odd 11:00-1:00 time most days, and Ian has taken to napping about 2 days out of 7. So, for them both to be asleep at 2:00pm was fabulous, and I decided to take advantage of the time and slip back to my bedroom to do a little bit of reading for our small group that meets tonight. Our church, Crosspoint, is working through the Strong Challenge along with about 50,000 people in churches across the midwest right now. This week our focus is on Study, so I thought that 30 minutes of quiet in the middle of the day would be a great time to practice this discipline today.

A bit later, I thought it was a little too quiet in the rest of the house, so I went to check on Ian. His room was empty, and I found him in the living room, playing with his cars.

For some reason I didn't notice the 2 canisters of flour, can of dry milk, canister of salt or bag of sugar on the table as well--only a VERY. LARGE. MOAT. surrounding the coffee table. Suddenly I forgot that I was going to scold him for coming out of his room before rest time was over and became concerned that there was a huge puddle of water in my living room.

I asked Ian where the water came from. His response? "I don't know!" So I asked again, thinking that maybe he didn't understand my question. Same response, "I don't know!"

"So what is that on the floor, Ian?" Ding, ding, ding! That was the correct question!

Ian then brought me an almost empty bottle of Canola Oil. The same bottle that just an hour ago had been nearly full and sitting high on the kitchen island.

The subject of my "Creative Problem Solving" for today

It was not water on the floor at all. What a relief! It was vegetable oil--what a nightmare! How on earth does one clean up a half-gallon of canola oil from wood laminate flooring? And how do I keep my busy little boy out of the pool of oil?

I cleaned what I could with old towels and did a quick mopping, but clearly soap and water were not going to cut through the oil. A quick internet search didn't give any more help, so what's a mom to do?!?

Twitter and Facebook to the rescue!

Stephanie Simpson
How do I clean up 1/2Gallon cooking oil on wood laminate flooring? , , ,

How did we ever solve crazy, time-sensitive predicaments like this before social networking?!? Within 10 minutes I learned from a Facebook friend that oatmeal may help absorb the oil, so I got out the canister of oatmeal and Ian and I proceeded to dump handfuls of oatmeal all over the floor until every last bit of oily floor was coated in oats.

My Mom always said that when you clean, it gets worse before it gets better.
Yes, he is wearing his duck suit from Halloween. Again.

Well, should you ever find yourself in a situation where you need to clean up a large quantity of vegetable oil from your wood laminate floor, I can assure you, from experience, that oatmeal does, indeed, clean up most of the residue. The things that you never knew that you needed to know!

Now, Jason and I have very different capacities for handling chaos. Jason is awesome at juggling lots of busyness and wrestling and activity-type chaos. That is not my gift. I try to redirect toward imaginative play and reading books when the rough-housing gets to be a bit much. Consequently, I don't tend to get upset by large messes, spills or other non-permanent instances of mass destruction. I figure, what's done is done, let's make the most of it.

Spilled milk? We all do it. Let's just clean it up and pour a new glass.

Kids went swimming in the sandbox? We'll hose you off in the yard and change clothes in the garage before coming inside.

Spill a half-gallon of oil on the floor? Let's throw down some oatmeal together and try to clean it up.

The way I see it, 20 years from now, this was probably a significant enough event from Ian's childhood that he'll remember it. At least I hope so, since we now have a "No pouring oil in the living room" Rule!

I'd rather he be able to remember it fondly, that he learned a lesson and laugh about the way that he learned it, instead of looking back upon a memory that is tempered with pain for being disciplined harshly for doing something that he didn't know that he should not do. I make a lot of mistakes too, and I find that I learn best when someone helps dust me off, and comes alongside me to help me clean up my act, instead of simply pointing out what I did wrong. I also tend to not make the same mistakes again that way.

I can only hope that I can do the same for Ian. He's got a lot of mistakes ahead of him, and I want him to know that it's okay. We all make mistakes. I may not know how to help him fix them all, but I'll do my best to help him figure it out. And I want him to know that he can count on me to to be someone to dust him off and help him make things right again. 

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