In karate class there are some ‘crimes’ that have immediate and fitting punishments. For example, if you let your hands drop while sparring, you will most likely be hit in the head. Sometimes the sensei has to assign a punishment to a student, like if you are not keeping your knees bent enough you may have a few (read ‘a hundred’) squats in your near future. As a parent though, it’s sometimes difficult to find punishments that fit the crimes our children commit. This is where you have to dig into your creativity and, let’s face it, that tiny bit of derangement all parents need to survive.

In my house the crime I was having so much trouble with was with the kids not flushing the toilet. We have four toilets in our house and at the time of this dilemma there were only me and my husband and our two daughters that were using them. I thought my girls were toilet trained, but in my mind flushing when you’re done is part of that, so obviously they weren’t trained. During this very stinky time in my house I would randomly come across unflushed toilets.  Once, my nose led me to the bathroom next to the girls’ bedroom. The smell warned me that something was amiss, but when I actually open the lid, well… I would describe what I saw and smelled, but my mother raised me better than that.  I have a low tolerance for bad smells and a hyper gag reflex, so this put me right over the edge. I had to come up with a solution for this and soon. As I was pondering an appropriate action to curb this behavior, I was called to another stinky mom duty. My little boy needed a diaper change. As I was pulling out wipe number four (yep, it was one of those poops), it came to me. I had my punishment. That evening as I was helping the girls get ready for bed in their now clean and fresh smelling bathroom, I recounted my toilet horrors of the day. Then I dropped my punishment bomb, or should I say stink bomb. I think my exact words were: “Girls, then next time I find that the toilet has not been flushed you will find one of your brother’s dirty diapers on your pillow.” I must say, their disgust was amusing to me. They know I’m just the tiniest bit crazy so they believed that I would carry out this punishment. Would I actually put a poopy diaper on my kids’ pillows?, probably not. But they don’t know that. I make sure that every time I find a pair of stinky old socks or dirty underwear that haven’t made their way to the hamper they are front and center when the kids climb into bed. This keeps them reminded that stinky things show up on your pillow if you don’t take personal responsibility for them.

I think the threat of a dirty diaper on your pillow is a perfect punishment for not flushing. You inflict stink on others and stink will come for you. I have never had to implement this punishment, which tells me I was right on nose this time (pun intended).