Indirect is Good, too
Fastidious George has a cold. Well, he has a drippy nose. Not much of a drip. At all. No great slimey green and yellow strands reaching to chin and beyond - oh, stop that squeamish wincing, you're all parents, you've seen worse, you know you have. Nope. Nothing like that. George has a teeny tiny little barely runny nose. Sometimes you can just barely see a bit of dampness glistening there. If you look very carefully. In a good light. George sees it differently. Dozens of times an hour, I hear his little voice: "Mary, I need a kleenex." He takes the proffered tissue, and dabs, oh so delicately, at his upper lip. Then screws the infinitesimally damp thing into a tiny ball and tosses it out. Given the option, George would repeat this manoeuvre at eighteen-second intervals, elminating all tissue from my house within the hour. This is why the kleenex boxes are all out of the childrens' reach. Well, clearly something has to be done. "Mary, I need a kleenex." I hand it, he dabs, he begins to wad it up. I cringe. "George, stop. You don't need to throw that out yet. You can use it at least once more." See how gentle I'm being with the boy? By my standards, that thing is pristine, completely untouched by snot. He could use the same damn one all day long, at this rate of soilage. His eyes widen. "I can't use it again!! It's all snotty!!" I snort, but I'm still being kind. He is, after all, showing laudable concern with hygiene. This boy could grow up to be the kind of man who sees mess and picks up after himself! Do I want to spoil this for the future Mrs. George? I think not. Still, I can't have him going through a box an hour. "All right, but don't crumple it up. Give it to me, I'll get rid of it." I take the old one, I hand him a new one. Prepare yourself for just how devious Mary can be... Twenty-six seconds later, when he requests his next tissue, I take the "used" one he proffers, and I hand him the previous one. We've been alternating two tissues all morning, and neither of them is used up yet. A brilliant, a simply brilliant win-win solution, and the future Mrs. George gets to have her tidy man. Lord, I'm good.