February 26, 2017

living with towel bandits

It's been years since I regularly stood in the kids' bathroom directing bath-time traffic, scrubbing chubby tots, and ducking big sock-drenching splashes.  No more fogged up bathroom mirrors and refreshing breezes as I exit the steamed up space with my squeaky clean offspring in tow.  Now they handle showering on their own.  Let the rejoicing begin.  

Since I've recaptured the minutes once devoted to our bath-time evening ritual, I've stumbled upon a new, unexpected frustration.  The accumulation of used, damp towels in odd places makes me scratch my head, holler profanity, and witness kids feigning cluelessness.

I suppose I should threaten to join them in the bathroom once again as they get clean, so that I can instruct them as to where to hang their towels.  No one wants that to happen, and I'm opposed to idle threats - so I continue to suffer through the mystery of why it's hard to hang a towel.

I stack piles of clean laundry in my room on a regular basis.  A few of the kids have adopted the habit of dropping his/her wet towel directly next to said laundry pile while he/she searches for something to wear.  Captain Obvious usually leaves his/her adjacent laundry pile toppled over in order to grab something from the bottom of the pile.

The more confusing towel bandit maneuver is pulled off by a kid who utilizes a towel and RETURNS it to the cabinet under the sink.  I've reached in the cabinet to grab a fresh towel and discovered a wet towel that has now caused the formerly dry towels to become damp.  My only guess is that a kid wanted to mop up puddles following a drippy sibling's shower and then stuffed the mop-towel back under the sink.  Odd, but true.  (This little gem made it into my annual Christmas poem where I typically spread Christmas cheer by revealing clues about how we really live).

Excerpt of annual Christmas poem referencing the misplacement of wet towels and other issues. 
A few years ago I hatched a brilliant plan.  For Christmas I wrapped up two personalized towels for each kid.  I mistakenly believed that this towel labeling would solve our 'whose wet towel is this?' issue.  No one would be able to shrug and look at me blankly when I accused them of grabbing a fresh towel for each shower.  Abandoning wet towels on bedroom floors, hallway banisters, or bathrooms would cease, right? 

Towels embroidered with kids' names for Christmas, brilliant!
With three double towel rods installed in the kids' bathroom, they each have an assigned spot for their monogrammed towel.  More brilliance.  Unfortunately, if they don't return their recently-used towel to their assigned rod because they prefer to drop it in a heap on their bedroom floor, they instinctively grab a new towel after their next shower.

My ingenious idea was foiled.  My kids make no bones about using a towel with a sibling's name on it.  Silly me.  Back to square one.  I am still unable to assign blame to a kid for leaving a wet towel on the floor or for using a fresh towel every day.  This ongoing towel dilemma results in additional laundry as I scoop up towels for the laundry that were most likely only used once.
Three of these double rods are mounted on kids' bathroom wall.

Adding to the problem, last weekend Tank puked his guts out for over 12 hours.  I was away for the weekend with the two girls at an Irish dancing competition.  Coach created a towel sidewalk leading from Tank's room to the bathroom.  I felt guilty for missing the entire puke-a-rama weekend especially because Coach had very little empathy for our 14 year old patient.  Apparently Tank was difficult to nurse back to healthy because when he was allowed to sip a tablespoon of water, he chose to chug a gallon.  More puke.

Since I wasn't home, I had a hard time deciphering which- if any -towels were legitimately in need of a wash.  Between life with towel bandits and dealing with possible puke-dribble on temporary towel sidewalks, I faced an unusually huge mountain of towel laundry when I returned from Irish dancing. 

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