Thursday, September 4, 2008

insanity pays off

So what do you think happens when only a few days before school starts I ask the kids to bring down all the jean shorts from their bathroom hamper & put them in the washer? They've done this before, so when I start the washer and pour in all the soap & Downy goodness I don't even check to see what they brought me. Jeans are jeans, right?

Sure they are.

Unless you are 6 and 8. 

Then that might mean every pair of khaki shorts as well!

Right there. In the washer with a new pair of my jean capris. 

Are you seeing what happened here? 

Can you just hear the screaming and carrying on that happened when I opened the washer door and found BLUE KHAKIS? 

Oh, yeah. I went N-U-T-S. At the top of my lungs. The neighbors were scared. I threw around phrases like: not responsible...making more work for me...jeans are not khakis...what were you thinking...where are the rest of the jean shorts. At one point I swear I had an out-of-body experience and wondered who was this wild woman yelling at me children. Not really a proud moment, I tell you. My ranting and raving brought Greg down stairs. 

He told me I was overreacting. They aren't that blue. You won't even notice. Oh no! There was no calming this beast as I threw jeans in the dryer and bluish khakis back in the washer. Maybe if I washed them quick enough I could undo the damage. 

So what is a Daddy to do when the Mommy is going absolutely, freakishly insane just days before school is about to start?

Make the kids learn new chores, of course.

Heather had already been periodically helping me unload the dishwasher. She did not really have to learn anything new.

She's really good at it, too. She puts away what she can reach and those things she knows for sure where they go.

She makes piles of other things on the counter for me to put away.

And she's always really quite cheerful about the whole deal. From now on she's supposed to unload the dishwasher while I'm making dinner.

After dinner, they are supposed to clear and clean the table.

Greg taught Stephanie how to do the dishes and load the dishwasher. She has to use a stool to reach properly, but it's time. 

Together, Greg and Stephanie worked on the endless mess of dishes. She was even rather cheerful about the whole deal herself. He was just Mr. Patient.

She probably knew she better put on a shiny, happy face if she ever wanted to see her mother calm down.

Neither one of them load a dishwasher the way I would. But I decided that doesn't really matter when it means I don't have to do the dishes. I just don't watch her too closely and completely resist the urge to reload it.

I had to laugh because I heard Stephanie telling Heather to make sure to rinse her dirty dishes after breakfast because she was just making more work for her. Hmmm, where has she heard that before?

And so it was clean...for a little bit. Even through the first week of school the kids and I kept a tight handle on it. This week? Well this week, complete bedlam has set in and there's some work to be done again. 

But overall? I am F-R-E-E from dish duty. They both know how to do their job. I just have to enforce it. Just call me The Enforcer. They got lucky a few nights last week because I felt sorry for them because they were so tired from starting a new school year and took care of the dishes for them. 

Now...about that laundry?

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