Around this neck of the woods where fine motor skills are in short supply, the management relies upon the use of liquid soap to keep hygiene at acceptable levels. Cleanliness for one of my boys, is a high priority, falling into the OCD category. My other chap is indifferent. I sometimes consider allowing the dirt to build up to the level where I can simply chip it off like a crust with a chisel, to save time.
Liquid soap of course is one of those new fangled extravagances of modern life, but I hadn't realized quite how insidious such shopping preferences can become, especially for one such as myself, someone “allergic to shopping.”
I decide to indulge my family. I ponder if I really want to squander this gift upon my unappreciative herd, but the thought of those beautiful bars of soap spending another year on the top shelf of my closet, makes me wince. It smacks of the 'best china' or 'parlour,' things that are only used on High days and Holidays, imposing an unnecessary paucity on daily life. I pull off the lid to be enveloped in wafts of lemon scent. It even smells clean, which is just how a cake of soap should be.
I am apprehensive in view of junior violent objection to cleaning solutions that involve fruit. I determine to choose my words carefully.
“What it is?”
“It is soap”
“Soap! Soap? It is not soap!”
“It is really. You use it to wash and get clean.”
“Er, no, I am finking dat you are making an accident, not a deliberately.”
“Because dah soap is er…..I dont know er……dis is not soap because it is being hard.” Oh of course, why didn't I think of that?
“I see. Well this is an old fashioned cake of soap, this is what people used before liquid soap was invented.”
“Cake! Cake? I am never eating it, it is terrible for me!”
“Ah, no, you don't eat it, you wash with it, just like liquid soap.”
“No that's just the descriptive noun, like 'pod' of whales.”
I demonstrate usage of the strange item to my kinesthetic learner. He makes no comment upon the lemon fumes, merely wrinkles his nose. “Here, you have a try.” I realize immediately that it's a large item to hold for small hands. I also realize seconds later, that it has a hitherto forgotten flaw as it shoots out of his grasp and skids into the other room, an erratic spinning top. He squeals with glee and chases after it. His delight alerts the others that something is afoot. I observe three children gamboling in my kitchen, as smears of soap begin to adorn every surface.
Junior has his own light bulb moment, stops abruptly and takes a marching step towards me. “You know, I fink dat it is fun to be playing wiv cake. We should be having dah chocolate soap because it is smelling nicer than lemon fruit stuff.”
Those moments of self generated problem serving reward us both – isn't that killing two birds with one stone?