Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Kids & Chores

One of the super-fun parts of being a parent is turning feral barbarians into functioning (hopefully pleasant) members of society.

Sometimes it is not so fun.

But! But!

Sometimes you have a nice little moment where you're like, yes! Fruits of my labors!

This afternoon when the kids came home from school, the girls had worked crazy hard before school and on the way home to get the majority of their post-school stuff done (piano, homework, etc.). Then they whizzed through their remaining list items and booked it outside into the heavenly March weather.

Isaac, on the other hand, was stuck inside folding his laundry, which was the consequence of his ten-minute tantrum this morning about having to get a pair of jeans out of the laundry because he didn't have any clean pants, and having to wear "dirty" (as in they had touched his body for five minutes the previous day) pants to school after starting his laundry before he left (this is my child who routinely puts matched & folded socks in the washer rather than put them away, so I have no sympathy for his plight).

Anyway, I told him that before he could play, he needed to fold and put away his laundry, and then endured listening to him grumble and whine about it the entire time ("Mom, I bet GRANDPA just jams his clothes into his drawers and doesn't fold them, because he knows what a waste of time it is!" Note: my dad is king of the crisply-ironed-to-perfection shirt). And then he finished and the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth battle moved on to homework. Which is yet another procrastination fun time, as it always seems to be for the first-grade set.

Later that night after dinner the girls both happened to be on the post-dinner jobs rotation (the boys had the before-dinner jobs). Jules cleared and wiped the table without missing a beat, then swept the kitchen and asked if there was anything else she could do. Meanwhile, Abigail had washed all the dishes, dried the pots & pans, and wiped down the counters. I seriously did not do a thing to help--they were total rock stars (and I'm not throwing Neil under the bus--he was still at work). And then Abigail reminded me that she had switched bathroom-cleaning days with one of the younger kids, and that she'd remembered and already done it that evening.

And I thought, hallelujah, this is why we persevere through and stick with it and keep going! Pretty sure all of my kids have been convinced at one time or another that they might actually die if they sweep the floor properly (and believe you me, we have had some major battles over whether or not the stuff on the floor is actually visible and can be swept with the broom if one is not a superhero blessed with laser vision, and the first few times of sweeping the floor usually means a good hour and six or seven rounds of "Honey, you didn't sweep over there...please go back and do it again...").

But anyway, the point of this very long rambling post is to say that a) it is a total nightmare training your kids to do things properly but b) it is SO WORTH IT. And now I will come back and reread this to remind myself the next time someone flails on the floor at my feet and declares dramatically that yes THEY WILL DIE if I insist that they sweep the floor, or dry the dishes, or pack their lunch...etc. etc.

(And my girls are pretty darn awesome.)

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