So I am going to interrupt my series on fashion for a small drama in the continuing saga of living with a teenage boy. Please let me warn readers now that there will be graphic content that may be disturbing to your stomach.
I have by now become quite aware of the forgetful power of the teenage boy brain. I am equally aware of the reputation that these once loving, helpful and sweet little boys all have once they turn into the dreaded teenager. An acquaintance was visiting my mother and summed it up perfectly with, “He’s 15. Enough said. I completely understand.” as my mother was sharing that she had a 15 year old grandson. The stories of “I don’t know” and “I forgot” and so many oh so common phrases out of the teenage boy mouth are shared quite frequently between us and our friends in similar desperate situations. And I do mean desperate…what once were functioning active and contributing members of our households have turned into monosyllabic creatures with diminished brain capacity and an attention span and memory of a gold fish equipped with the attitude of a porcupine and grizzly bear combined. And yet, we give these mind boggling boys a license to drive a certified weapon…so really who is the one with diminished brain capacity there.
I do love my son greatly and I know my husband does and so does any parent to a teenage boy BUT as I say on another blogger’s page, “Mothers of teenage boys know why animals eat their young.” I have not had the blessing of a girl and I hear that they are a-whole-nother set of frustrations. But I am here to tell you, if it were not for Ms. Clairol and my hairdresser, I would be white haired by now! There is definitely preponderance more of gray than when I first met my son. And frankly it’s a wonder I have any hair left because what little patience I have (remember I keep telling God I’m not going to be learning that one this time around, so he gave me a teenage boy) has all but gone out the window on many an occasion. And I think he is actively trying to make my husband and me bonkers – fully certifiable.
So that brings us to this weekend’s little drama and toilets. It was a toilet that started this whole drama. My mother and I had planned a fun Friday night movie and dinner night. (She’s training in gourmet cooking and I love to mooch off her lessons to learn myself.) She needed to use the restroom but instead came out to report there was a preponderance of skid marks in the toilet and asked where the stuff was to clean it. She did politely say she wasn’t sure who had used the toilet last, full well knowing it had been my son, as to help him avoid embarrassment. I on the other hand felt no shame in announcing “(Insert son’s name), you need to clean the toilet. You left it a mess…again.”
See in our house we are working extremely hard on remembering that it is a communal facility and that not everyone likes to live or operate in someone else’s mess. Small things like put your stuff away, the front entry is not a place for your helmet or fishing equipment, dishes go in the dish washer – not to be left on coffee tables, etc. – to the larger things like when you go fishing, you do not leave the worms to rot and die in your fishing box where the decaying order permeates the garage and house as to asphyxiate the rest of us who live there. And no, just because it doesn’t bother you doesn’t mean the rest of us want to smell that nasty odor.
So I left my son to handle his clean up and went upstairs, interestingly enough to do some brief work on my blog. I came downstairs a not so short time later to be told by my son that the toilet brush was missing. As I know that it is normally with the cleaning supplies and I also know that my son’s idea of looking for things amounts to open the cupboard and if it doesn’t leap out and assault you, then it obviously isn’t there, I questioned him and began a search myself. I checked all our bathrooms by the toilets and in the utility closet and even outlandishly under sinks in the odd chance my husband had placed it there. (Really, if you knew my husband you really wouldn’t think this was odd.)
I know for a fact that one week and a day ago (8 days…this is important to remember) when I cleaned, the dang thing existed. This is not exactly something that sprouts legs and decides to take a stroll. Frankly, I really think while I might not think it odd these days, I definitely would notice it walking away. My mother joined the search. Mind you my son was now lounging on the couch, slouched while we did his task. I hear my mother call me to his bathroom. What possessed my mother to look where she did is beyond me. I suspect raising two teenage boys herself that she must have had a similar gross experience. I turned the corner into the bathroom and in shocked followed her outstretched arm, down her finger and into the shower where there laid the missing toilet brush…right where my 15, almost 16 year old son, had no other entrance into the shower, had been getting into the shower for 8 DAYS!!! The kid had to have stepped on this thing multiple times!!!
Now my son was once so fastidious when it came to being clean that if even a drop of urine fell on his pants after using the urinal he had to change his pants immediately. He would take two and three showers a day. Clothes that were barely worn were once considered dirty just because they had touched his body for more than five consecutive minutes. This was all before he turned 15…before teenager had fully set in.
In utter disbelief, shock, stupid amazement and complete astonishment, I descended the stairs, holding this truly large and by no means conspicuous toilet brush…the thing is blue and very hard to miss…in an incredulous tone asking my son, “How in the world did you not know you have been showering with this thing for EIGHT DAYS?! You had to have stepped on it. I mean REALLY! How could you have not known?”
In true smart-alecky, fifteen year old style, my son looks at me and says without missing a beat, without any concern that he had been standing in shower with water running moving toward him and over him after it rained down on the utensil that cleans the fecal and urine stains out of our toilets, “Don’t you remember Brain Games?” For those that don’t know, Brain Games is a really cool show that explains how the brain operates, including a phenomenon called Change Blindness where your brain does not register all the changes that occur around it based on what it is focusing on. What can you possibly say to that other than, “Go clean the toilet.”
Now an even sadder commentary on the expectations of what our son will do occurred when I texted my husband who was away for the weekend. When I explained to him what his son (yes I had disowned my son for that evening because I can guarantee you I would have noticed a toilet brush in my shower, change blindness be dang) had done, my husband wrote back and said, “At first I thought you were telling me he was using it for a week to shower and clean himself with!” Yep, teenage boys for you. Can’t put anything past them…apparently even washing themselves with a used toilet brush! Stay tuned…I’m so sure there will be more teenage boy exploits.