Tuesday, June 17, 2014

JBB Earns his Keep

If you know JBB at all, you know that he's super-smart. If you know me at all, you've certainly heard me say about him, "how can someone so smart be so stupid?"

He's exceptional at this job and at all manner of complex math and sciences. He can carry on conversations- mostly one-sided conversations- about literature and art and technology, but he can't figure out how to close a Zip-Loc bag. In other words, he's not great with the physical world and making actual things actually happen.

But occasionally, he surprises me.

I've had ongoing trouble with making The Boys understand what I mean when I tell them to go outside for a while. After only a few minutes one or the other or the other of them wanders back in asking if it's time to come inside yet. (This is especially true of Big D and Mr Butler.) No amount of encouraging them back out, giving them fun outside stuff to do, or crying at the sight of them could keep them outside. And since neither of The Littles can tell time reliably, there was no use in giving them a clock, which they surely would have tossed into the creek anyway.

So, I did what I always do when I need a solution; I took my problem to Pinterest. Apparently, there are many thousands of ways to make your children stay outside, but 99% of them involve parental involvement or planning, which defeats the purpose of going outside. And the other 1% seem like the kinds of things that would have the neighbors calling CPS.

I whined about the ever-coming-inside children at dinner one night last week, and JBB had an idea. I nearly dismissed it out of hand as I do with most of his ideas, but this one was so simple I thought it just might work. Here's how it goes:

1) Lock the front door
2) Send the children out the back door
3) Hang a piece of red construction paper on the back door- having already explained to the kids that red means STOP, do not come in this house or your mother will lose her mind, and that exceptions will be made for bathroom stops and emergencies that require trips to the ER
4) When enough time has elapsed and I can once again bear the sight of them, hang a piece of green construction paper on the door- having already explained to the kids that green means GO, come in and see what your mother looks like now that her sanity has been restored

And guess what! It's working! A few times I found them standing on the back deck staring at the door like they're stopped at a traffic light just waiting for it to change. And that's totally cool with me, because they're on the other side of the door.

No if only JBB could figure out how to turn on the vacuum.