Sunday, June 18, 2006

Kids and Doors

Children can be trained to do many things. I have successfully taught my children to use the toilet. To bring their dishes to the sink. Even to carry up and put away their own laundry (although this is an admittedly new routine, so it is too soon to cry victory here).

But no matter how hard I try, I cannot teach them to close the door behind them when they enter or leave the house. Why is this? They hate flies as much as I do, and they have no problem repeating back to me the reason they enter the house. They also beg me to turn on the air conditioning before I am ready to do so because they are so hot. But they don't seem to mind the hot air pouring in through the gaping door hole they left!

I stationed myself near the sliding glass door for several hours today while the kids played intermittently inside and outside the house. Out of thirty or so entries and exits, the door was successfully closed without prompting three or four times only. I reminded them, nicely at first, each time they came in. By the end of the day I was a little less patient: "OK, WHO left the door open?!" Why doesn't this one stick?

If we had French doors I would put a spring on them, but with a slider I can't figure out what to do. Is there an electric shock collar that would administer a strong reminder anytime they passed through the area without shutting the door? (For those of you who don't know me, I am kidding...but barely.)

I remember my mother asking me repeatedly when I was a child if I was born in a barn, so this must be something common to many children. But this does not make me feel better when I am correcting this for the 100th time, literally, in a day! Kids, why can't you shut the door?!

But, as I told Lindsey as I tucked her in tonight, I always love my kids, even when they act like they've been possessed by aliens, even when they splash so much water out of my bathtub that it drips on my head in the kitchen, even when they don't shut the door after being asked a gazillion times. And that's a fact.


Anonymous said...

My kids are the opposite- they always SLAM the door. I am forever saying"Don't slam the door" and BAM! they slam it. Even if they say "OK" when I tell them not to slam, they still slam it. It is maddening. Six kids make a lot of slams. And if open the door to get some fresh air or to bring in groceries, they won't leave it open. SLAM! SLAM! SLAM! all day long. Think how fortunate you are not to have to put up with that!!

Michelle said...

OK, my kids aren't shutting the doors either, and I know the grass isn't always greener...but...

...on Saturday I was in the kitchen cleaning up a mess my 2 year old made when I heard the baby crying in pain. I thought he had escaped through the (open) back door into our fenced-in yard. Oh no! He escaped through our (open) front door and fallen on the cement sidewalk and was crying. He was being comforted by my neighbor. Lovely. All 5 of my kids playing in the front of the house - actually 2 doors down - and mom is nowhere to be found.

Yes, by last night I was sick of telling them to close the $%#@! door.

nutmeg said...

Our poor kids must think their PARENTS are possessed by aliens, because the rule about closing the sliding door to the backyard is constantly changing....

1. If it's below 75 degrees outside, keep it open.
2. If it's above 75 degrees and the baby is outside, keep it open.
3. If it's above 75 degrees and you are in the pool, keep it closed.
4. If it's above 75 degrees and the baby is sleeping, keep it closed.

Truth be told, my husband is more uptight about the door than I am. Killing flies with the flyswatter is a perfectly noble ( and time consuming) enterprise for my high-maintenance, 'always needing to be entertained' 8 year old.

Jen said...

My kids are also the opposite, they slam any door when given any sort of opportunity and usually on each other. Oh the smashed fingers, hands, feet, arms, any appendage actually but you get the point. At least your doors aren't being used as weapons! :)

Anonymous said...

What an good writer you are Suzanne and how lucky your family is to have their story in writing as it happens.
As to doors, a slider is quite different from a conventional door, sliders are more difficult to close for the wee ones. My son had this problem as a child. I just decided to make the slider off limits(think of it as a window) and have the family use a conventional door to the back. This worked fine. No finger prints, flies did not have an entrance and the temperature control was assured.

Love your stories Suzanne.


optimom52 said...

Sigh. . . I have 8 slammers and leave-openers all at the same time. I wish I could have revolving doors in my house but someone would invariably get squished or the kids would try to see how many they could fit in one space (I've had it happen in hotels already!). There are some things they never really catch onto until they're adults. And some of my adults still haven't made the connection. . .Great observations/comments from everyone! Everyone needs a smile on a Monday morning!

Let's face it, sometimes it is very satisfying to slam a door. Childish but satisfying.

Suzanne Di Silvestri said...

I loved these comments. Thanks for co-miserating with me and advising me!