Trailer Park Unschoolers

Because you don't need to be rich to unschool!

Pickle Juice and Cleaning Magic

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Today was filled with learning opportunities, even for me.  It all began really late last night when Corde came into our bedroom complaining that she was throwing up and said she had a sore throat.  This was unusual because Corde never gets up in the middle of the night to wake us up.  She went right back to sleep, so I didn’t think much of it, at least not at 4am.

When I finally dragged myself out of bed, that’s when I got the real story.  Poor Corde was not only throwing up, but she also had horrible diarrhea.  We had no idea what was going on with her.  No one else was sick.  Our only thought was that she somehow got into something that she shouldn’t have.  It was horrible, like pulling teeth to get it out of her.  She swore that she didn’t get into anything and she had no idea why she was sick.  Oz had gone with that story until I asked her what happened and she told me a completely different story than she’d told Oz when I questioned what was on the floor next to the couch.  Of course, Oz hadn’t noticed this because he tends to tune out spills and things like that.  He tends to view it all as “stains on the rug” until I finally step in and point out what wasn’t there the last time.  That’s when Oz and I both saw it, the jar from the pickles sitting on the couch, stuffed down and wrapped in a blanket.  We were pretty sure we knew what the culprit of Corde’s nasty illness was.

After finally getting on Corde’s case about what really happened so we could figure out what we could do to get her feeling better, she admitted that she drank half the jar of pickle juice.  I have no idea what keeps possessing her to do all these things at night, but I think she’s finally starting to learn that she should stick to the things she knows are safe.  Oz and Beekee will both take a drink of pickle juice, but they don’t drink nearly that much.  We talked to her about the effects of all that vinegar on her system, which really isn’t too bad, but she definitely felt it.  I gave her a reminder of the list of things she can have when she gets up in the middle of the night (anything that doesn’t require being cooked on the hotplate, the microwave is fine) and isn’t specifically reserved for something in particular.  Hopefully this experience will get through to her.  I just had no idea what else to do for her.

However, this led to a huge problem.  There was vomit on the rug that had been there who knows how long and it needed to be dealt with.  Of course, this all comes down to me.  With no fancy carpet cleaners or anything like that, I resorted to my old go-to, and grabbed the baking soda and vinegar, having no idea how this would effect our poor carpet.  This carpet was supposedly new when we moved in here, not that you could tell now.  Then again, they did a horrible job, leaving carpet tacks and things sticking out which hurt when you step on them.  Complaints about the trailer aside, you can tell the carpets were cheap to begin with so I wasn’t too worried about what would happen if I somehow damaged them in the process.

So I went to it.  I sprinkled down some baking soda and let it sit for a minute.  Baking sodas does wonders for smells, and I have no idea if letting it sit helps deal with the smell any better than if I just cleaned it up right away, so I figured I’d just roll with it.  I mixed some vinegar and water so it wouldn’t be so harshly strong, called the boys in, then I poured it carefully onto the spot on the rug.  A spray bottle would have been better, but we didn’t have one so I improvised.

The boys were amazed!  I turned the “powder dust” into “soda” to clean the floor!  They were even more amazed when the “soda” not only cleaned up the mess I intended to clean up, but it cleaned up a stain from the last time the boys spilled juice on the floor too.  I was kind of shocked.  Thankfully Corde’s little mess wasn’t all that bad since it had already been “cleaned up” by someone earlier, I’m guessing Oz, but he didn’t do a good enough job to satisfy my standards.

After that we made “cleaning soda” for a couple of other stains on the floor and that surprisingly did the trick.  The boys got all excited every time the whole thing fizzed up and bubbled.  Corde, who wasn’t the least bit impressed after having already done that at her homeschool chemistry class, poked her head in a couple of times to see what was going on too.  She had no idea you could use that to clean.  They were studying chemical reactions, not green cleaning.

I guess that’s just one way to turn a negative experience (like drinking too much pickle juice) into a positive one.  The kids enjoyed it and they learned a great new way to clean.  Since it’s such an inexpensive and practical way to clean (and something we can do on food stamps as Corde pointed out) it’s much better than many of the alternatives we’ve had in the past.  It’s a really affordable, easy, green cleaner.  I don’t even have to worry about it being safe for the kids.  It’s so safe I’d (mostly) trust them to use it on their own.  Of course, letting them use it on their own is a relative thing…  I can foresee a giant sudsy mess if I don’t limit how much they’re able to use!

So, even with the rough start we were able to turn it around and make it into something positive.  I’m glad it wasn’t just a horrible day of Corde feeling miserable.  The boys were thoroughly distracted by this cool new way to clean, so they didn’t bother her even once.  Corde was able to rest, nap, and feel a lot better because of it.  She liked that because it’s one of the few times the boys don’t drive her nuts by trying to “help” when she’s not feeling well.  All in all, it turned out pretty well considering the bad start!


Author: Fox

With four kids, who has time for much? We spend a lot of time together, which translates to a lot of knitting time for me when we hang out. We've been trying to get back to our unschooling roots. We watch a lot of videos, play a lot of games, and pay attention to the things we notice in our everyday life. It's been quite the big adventure!

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