Archived Story

Things you learn being a mom

Published 11:52am Thursday, February 16, 2012

As I was cleaning house last week, it occurred to me the interesting things motherhood has taught me. I have learned a human being can survive on five hours of sleep and, if you are tired enough, you really can sleep sitting up. I have learned with enough patience you can get a very tangled comb out of hair. I have also learned peanut butter, cooking oil, or mayonnaise can all successfully be used to remove gum from hair.

Although, thankfully most of my children are now old enough that I do not have as much trouble with these “educational” moments, it is still fun to look back and see what all we have learned.

For example, I have also learned there are some things appliances just do not like. As I vacuumed this week, I began to think of all the stuff that my poor vacuum cleaners (notice the plural tense here) seriously did not like. They really hate mini Legos, safety pins – especially open ones, rubber bands, small pencils, beads, popcorn kernels, small pieces of plastic, and micro-machines. At least with these things, I usually know right away I just fed something to my vacuum cleaner I probably should not have. However, there are other things I sometimes do not even know I have vacuumed up until the vacuum cleaner is clogged. I used to hate Barbie clothes and craft foamies because they are particularly bad about clogging the hose of a vacuum cleaner. I was ready to cheer when the Barbies finally went bye-bye. Now that my girls are into make-up my new most hated things to accidentally vacuum are Q-Tips and Bobbie pins.

In self-defense, I did not and do not intend to vacuum these things up. Usually they are hidden at the edges of furniture or under a bed. Notice I said “I” did not intend to vacuum up. My children have vacuumed up stuff either not knowing you should not or trying to desperately clean up a mess before I found out. They discovered very quick you cannot vacuum up cereal and milk (unless you’re using a wet/dry vac). They also now know you cannot vacuum up an entire container of beads with the intention of pouring them back into the container, because you do not just get the beads, not to mention it’s extremely noisy. They have learned it is a bad idea to try to vacuum around long curtains without picking them up. They also now know when you smell burning rubber you should immediately turn off the vacuum.

However, vacuum cleaners do not have the monopoly on being “fed” inappropriate items. At the age of 3, my oldest daughter decided to feed the VCR “vegetable soup” made from magnetic letters. John had the pleasure of taking the VCR apart because trapped inside happened to be a rented movie.

Washing machines and clothes dryers have also been a source of much frustration in our household. Many things should not go through either one of these appliances. Hubby learned when doing laundry, you need to carefully go through the basket of clothes because you never know what one of your children has hidden in the basket. He learned a 10-pound weight in a washing machine is a bad idea. The end of a 10 lb. weight has enough force to be propelled through the tub of a washing machine during the spin cycle.

Did you know that one partial tube of ChapStick can ruin an entire load of laundry? I had one that made the entire load of laundry smell of cherry ChapStick and left some very nasty greasy stains on several items of clothing. Yes, I know I should have checked the pockets, but at 11 o’clock at night, I just was not thinking clearly. I have also accidentally put crayons through the dryer. It took over an hour of scrubbing with Goo-Gone to get the melted crayon out of the dryer, and then I had to scrub the Goo-Gone out of the dryer! Yes, I learned to check pockets much better.

Many of our lessons have been taught out of good intentions. For example, one of my angels, in an attempt to be helpful, decided she could make toast all by herself early one morning. Her idea was to surprise John and I with breakfast in bed. Unfortunately, she started to put the jelly on the bread before toasting it. Not wanting to waste the bread she tried to toast it with the jelly on it. Toasters do not like jelly. Actually, we‘ve learned quite a few things don‘t go well with toasters. They dislike magnetic letters. You cannot dry a potholder in them. Yes, they will get hot enough to burn popcorn. You cannot not make a Pop Tart by taking two pieces of bread, putting jelly between them and toasting them.

Actually, kitchen appliances have taught us quite a bit. In addition to the toaster, microwaves and dishwashers have had a hand in our education. We know microwaves will not soften dried out Play-Doh. They will make sparks when you leave a spoon in your bowl. They can burn food if it is left in there for too long…way too long. My brother taught us this one. In an attempt to make himself lunch, he accidentally put a hot dog in the microwave for 30 minutes instead of 30 seconds. Mom and Dad had to throw the microwave away! In case you are wondering, my brother was in high school at the time.

Microwaves also dislike crayons. One of my daughters tried to melt a crayon in the microwave. The crayon exploded. Really it exploded. There were specs of orange crayon all over the inside. In case you are wondering, my daughter got to scrape it off. It took her the better part of an hour. (I know. I know. I am a mean Mom!)

Ovens have also been very educational. In case you are not aware, if something in your oven is on fire, you should leave the door closed until it burns itself out or use fire extinguisher. We have also learned that some children just pick up on cooking skills faster than others and some just should not be allowed in the kitchen at all! Just kidding, we still let her cook, we were just careful to supervise her more until she got a little more skilled.

However, sometimes it all works out.. For example, our babysitter in Kentucky discovered if you try to use hand dishwashing soap instead of automatic dishwashing soap, the soap will foam up tremendously and flood the kitchen. It ended up being great. Why? Because, I ended up with an incredibly clean kitchen floor.

I‘ve also learned having children can be incredibly difficult and frustrating, but I would not trade one of them for one minute. Parenthood has its occasional rough spots, but in the end it is all worth it and most of time the rough spots end up being very funny later. Well, most of them anyway!

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