when the learning curve is more like a learning crawl

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Why oh why oh WHY?!?

T-man and Bear are some pretty sharp tacks, but there are things that seem to be simply beyond comprehension for these kids.  Now, to be fair they are children, so it’s not like I’m expecting them to understand nuclear fusion or metaphysics.  They’ve gotta have something to study in college, after all.

That being said, there are some very basic concepts that I’d really think would be no brainers by now.  Unless I say “when you feel like it” then I truly mean “now, please” when I give an instruction, regardless of whatever iPad game has its hooks in you.  “Putting your shoes away” means a great deal more than shoving them under the nearest coffee table or chair. Leaving empty boxes in the pantry is just mean, and dirty clothes don’t teleport themselves to the laundry room.

But today?  Today we’re talking about trash versus recycling.

We’ve lived in this house since 2009.  This neighborhood has the same recycling program we’ve used since 1997, so by now we should be pretty freaking familiar with the rules.

As for the kids, they’ve been responsible for helping with recycling since they were about six years old which means they’ve logged four to six years of recycling respectively.  Even if we wrote off the early days that still means they’ve been sorting trash from recycling since they were eight.  That’s old enough to retain information.

Which brings us to the crux of this rant.

After this many years – throwing out napkins, recycling glass, throwing out tin foil, recycling cans – I’d think the basics would have sunk in.  I mean seriously, people, it’s not that hard.  Our program recycles glass, aluminum cans, 2 liter bottles, plastic with the number one or two on it, newspaper/magazines, chipboard (anything similar to a cereal box), and cardboard that’s been broken down.

For real, the hardest thing to remember is to look for that plastic number.  We’ve been doing the rest for years.  YEARS.

Glass.  Cans.  Soda bottles.  Plastic.  Newspaper/magazines.  Chipboard.  Cardboard.  Seven categories and done.

So why, oh why do I field questions about recycling six blessed days of the week?!  Or, possibly even more annoying, throw out items that shouldn’t be sitting on the recycling counter to begin with?

My kids go through a stupid amount of syrup.  (Please don’t write me about how bad syrup is for the teeth.  I’ve already had that discussion with the dentist and was completely unsuccessful at weaning the kids off it.)  Meaning we are no stranger to the disposal of of plastic syrup bottles.  What number is on the bottom of the bottle?  A five.  Do I wish my program recycled fives?  Yes, absolutely, but they don’t.  Never have.  Which means for years now I’ve been reminding kids Nope, not recyclable.  Over.  And over.  Shoot me now.

We also drink milk from cartons, cartons which are (sadly) also not recyclable.  Never have been. Ever.  And yet week after week I find empty milk cartons sitting beside the sink, waiting to be taken to the recycling bins.  Now I ask you – which of those seven categories does a waxy carton fall in?  I’ll tell you which – none.  It falls in none of them.  It’s TRASH, people.

Questions I’ve fielded from my kids over the years include: Is this yogurt cup recycling?  How about the foil top off it?  Do we recycle batteries?  What about tin foil?  Can I recycle this Gatorade bottle?  (For the love of all things holy, CHECK THE NUMBER.)  How about tupperware? Frozen pizza boxes?  Delivery pizza boxes?  Fruit cup containers?

And on and on it goes.

You know, sometimes a girl just gets weary.  Weary of being the expert on everything from recycling programs to expiration dates to coordinating four house projects simultaneously. Weary of repeating myself a gazillion times over.  Wearing of knowing.

Rant complete.  Thank you for your attention today.

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