Today may just be the greatest day of my life. Ever.
It’s been kind of a long week, ’round here, with the children being cranky and various meetings being… well, you know, the sorts of meetings where you’re sitting there, hour after hour, questioning your will to go on in a world where people think you need to have 3-hour meetings about minutiae.
I also totally biffed our meal planning this week, and I have absolutely no excuse for it, either. As a result we had “Oh crap, what are we doing for dinner?” every single night this week. Not really my favorite meal, though we worked it out.
And so then today rolled around, and it’s Friday—which is good, because tomorrow’s Saturday, but also bad, because everyone is tired and grumpy—and this morning I was just trying to get breakfast made and lunches packed.
The children were holding up pretty well, I guess, aside from a bit of sniping at each other. And then Chickadee needed a form filled out for something, and while I was doing that, Monkey was bouncing around the kitchen like a crack-addled puppy. He needed to tell me something! And had I heard this funny joke yet? And then he wanted to ask about his lunch! And then he wanted to know if he could make his own sandwich!
[Answer: No. While I’m all about promoting independence, when there’s just five minutes to get out the door and we’re talking sunbutter (sticky) and my son (messy), I’d rather do it myself. Please.]
Finally I was back to making lunches and I suggested that Monkey go ahead and unload the clean silverware from the dishwasher. He brightened immediately. “Really?” he asked, incredulous. (That’s usually his sister’s job, but she was still busy eating her breakfast as slowly as possible.) I nodded. “I can unload the WHOLE THING!” he said, and then he mostly did. I put up some things that went into the high cabinets, for him, but he did almost everything himself.
He was delighted.
And then he was bored, because he was done, and what should he do NOW?
I was, by now, putting napkins and water bottles in the lunch bags. I looked around the kitchen, and saw Monkey’s breakfast dishes and a couple of other things in the sink. “Well, you could load the dishwasher for me, now that it’s empty,” I suggested.
That child lit up like I’d just promised him his own personal Starfleet. Possibly made out of chocolate cake. “ALL the dishes?” he asked, as if he couldn’t believe his good fortune. (The kids already put their dishes in the dishwasher after eating. The difference here was that he was being given… a couple of extra dishes, as well.)
He pumped his fist in the air. “I’ve been wanting to do this FOREVER!” he exclaimed, and joyfully set about his task.
(Chickadee rolled her eyes.)
A different sort of mother’s first thought might’ve been, “Wow, what a weirdo.” But my first thought was, “Excellent, free labor! I am about to make this kid VERY HAPPY for about nine more years. Also, wow, what a weirdo.”