Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Stand off-Dirty dishes

Our children are expected to do a few chores around the house.
These include setting the table before dinner, clearing the table after dinner, taking the clean dishes out of the dishwasher and putting them away in their designated spots and then filling the dishwasher with dirty dishes.
(Actually putting
dishwashing detergent in the dishwasher and turning it on is also an added bonus)
Sometimes, our children forget that these jobs are theirs to do, and so occasionally, they might require a gentle reminder.

Sometimes, the kids won't get the dishes done the night before, especially if they have a lot of homework. Understanding how important the homework is, (and knowing if they don't do it at that moment, that I will miss out on some of my sleep because I'll be staying up late giving them gentle reminders, and nudging them awake so they can get the homework done)

Last week was one of those weeks. Lots of homework. That combined with a few extracurricular activities made it easier for me just to do the dishes myself.

Friday after school, I took the kids to
Tarzhay so that Aaron could spend the gift card that he got for his birthday. He couldn't find anything for under $10. I told him that I would lend him the extra three dollars that he would need for the item he wanted. He promised to do the dishes, and mop and clean the entire kitchen. (because he was just that grateful) (and he loves to clean)
When we got home, I again informed the kids that there were some dirty dishes in the sink, and that they should be getting them clean. I also reminded Aaron about the deal we made at
Since it was now the weekend, and
Brielle and Aaron were now officially "off track" from school for the next three weeks, I saw no reason why the dishes could not be done. I also wasn't feeling very well, and needed to rest (Aaron came home from school sick on Thursday, and must have shared it with me, because I felt lousy all weekend) (The way I felt probably contributed to the poor judgement I had concerning the loaning of money to Aaron at Tarzhay) (But in my defense, the kid really does like to clean, so I thought that he would probably keep his end of the bargain)

Friday when we went to bed, the dishes were still not done. Since I had done them several times during the week, there was no way that I was going to do them again.

"Hey kids, tomorrow morning, the dishes need to be done, and the kitchen cleaned up, Got it?"

"Yes, dear mother, we shall do as you ask!"

But alas, the dishes remained dirty, and were piling higher in the sink.

Saturday we had a family reunion to go to at the park. I needed to make a salad. The bowl and the serving spoon I needed were not clean.

I washed them by hand.

I again reminded my dear offspring of their duty to clean the dishes.

I also pointed out that we were now going to be late for the reunion because I had to take the time to wash the dishes before I could use them, and if they had done their job, we could have left 20 minutes ago.

They promised to do the dishes when they got home.

We went to the park and had a lovely time visiting with family. (Right up until the point where we were leaving and Max had a complete melt down because he had only been down the slide 234 times, and I wouldn't let him go 235. We hauled him out of the park kicking and screaming "
Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase!! Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase!! Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase!! Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase!! I ALSO GO ON THE SLIDE ONE MORE TIME!!! Pleeeeeeaaaaaaase!!" which I knew wouldn't really happen, because the last 8 times he went down were supposed to be the "last time")

When we got home, I again gently reminded the children that they had a job to do, and also showed them that there were now more dishes to be done and they would either have to run two loads in the dishwasher, or wash some by hand.

That evening after dinner, the dishes still weren't done. I pointed out to the children that we had used the last of our clean plates, and we would need those to be washed so we could eat off of them for dinner the next day.

Sunday after church, I took a nap, but first reminding the kids to do the dishes.

When it came time for them to set the table for dinner, they put out paper plates and cups.

I, on the other hand, needed to hand wash two pans (one for spaghetti, one for sauce) and the garlic press, which is more easily washed in the dishwasher.

After dinner I again reminded the kids that the dishes needed to be done. They agreed. It was Sunday evening.
CJ did have some homework to do, but the other two rugrats are out of school for the next three weeks, so homework was no longer an excuse.
I don't know where they went to hide. I'm quite sure it was the huge pile of dishes in the sink that frightened them away.

They finally won.

I did a load of dishes. I was just so tired of reminding them, and besides, I needed clean dishes.

This morning, I again told the kids that they needed to get the rest of the dishes done. Again they agreed.
This afternoon, I again told the kids that they needed to get the rest of the dishes done. Again they agreed.

I did another load of dishes.

Brielle and CJ must have felt a little bad, because they started doing the dishes after dinner, but were distracted, and I finished them.

For those of you keeping track, that's load #3

Now here's the deal.

For the rest of the week, whenever they ask me to do something, I will say:

"Sure!, I'd love to do that for you!"
"Absolutely! I would love to take you there!"
"That sounds like a fabulous activity! Sure we can do that!"

And then...............................


They want to do fun activities while they are out of school. They want to have friends over, they want to go to the fair (which would probably be a great activity so we can show Max what kind of animals really live on a farm) They want to go to a movie.

Too bad.

Now I have two more things to say.

1. Please don't leave me a mean comment about my style of parenting, I will just make fun of you on my next post. (Plus, remember, I was sick all weekend)

2. My children will probably not remember the events of the last few days exactly the same way I did. They may even laugh at the phrase "gentle reminder" however, I would like to point out to them that I did do 3 loads of dishes, while they did not (except for
Brielle and CJ who emptied part of the dishwasher) and also, this is my blog and I can write whatever I want.


SuburbanCorrespondent said...

Mean? You're way too easy on them. How about writing 300 times (100 times for each load) "I will do the dishes when Mommy asks me to"? That generally makes more of an impression.

Plus, that item that was bought at Target? Would have been confiscated until dishes were done...

So, I'm the mean one. You are a pushover. (Don't worry - some of my best friends are pushovers.)

Carol said...

And let that be a lessen to them.

Though I have to admit to being firstly impressed by their resourcefulness in thinking up the paper plates idea and secondly glad that I am not the only parent in the world with a child who has no real concept of the phrase 'the last time'.

Such a relief!

Maraiya said...

I agree with SC; you were way too nice. I would have stopped cooking for them - forget handwashing pots for spaghetti. Living on PBJ would have helped remind. My kids don't get to do a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g. (short of homework) if their chores aren't done. Of course, I'm still a novice and have not, as yet, been introduced to the way of the teenager.

Jo said...

Oh my gosh, I am so sad I never thought of that response when I was bugging kids to do stuff. I love it! Sure, I will do that, dum, dum, dum... nothing. Love it, love it.

Adam and Kristina said...

I have to also agree with SC. WAY too nice. But, you can only do now what you can do, and I agree with not taking them where they want to go, etc.

Valerie said...

SC thinks you're too nice? Well I think SHE's too nice. I would be in the kitchen standing over them with my bull whip until the kitchen was sparkling clean and they had done 300 push-ups.

Okay, maybe not. But still, I'm with you. And I understand that you might not have felt like standing over them since you felt sick and all.

And please don't make fun of me in your next post. :)

utmomof5 said...

You are anything but mean!! I would have turned into "ugly mean mom" (my kids named me that) by the second reminder!! I am hoping "gentle reminder" is code for scream at them that will make me feel better.

Elizabeth said...

Oh, yeah, Dr Ray Guarendi advocates essay writing...I like SC's idea. But, yeah, it is hard to draw the line when you feel yucky. Hope you are better and the kiddos are doing a few things...even if it is just to get a ride somewhere!

JustRandi said...

I LOVE your idea. I think it will make them sit up and notice!!

(And your use of parenthesis is cracking me up!) (seriously)

Jill said...

OK, just so you know, when I was using the term "gentle reminder", I was being very sarcastic.

Tausha said...

I think that you are a great mom! I would have screamed until I turned purple and then I would have just looked at my husaband. The girls would have known I ment business by the purple color of my skin. If they didn't do the dishes, they don't even want to imagine what would have happened then. See-you are a much better mom than me. I bet you don't turn purple!
I don't blame you for not taking them anywhere-there is a consequence for every action. That is always what my mom said when we were growing up and I hated it! NOw I say it to my kids. Life is so great when it finally comes full circle!~

mommeeof9 said...

My response is usually "you want me to _______? As soon as you have finished the chores I assigned to you, I'll be happy to."

There is a good side to my 16 yr olds mild autism. SHe does what she is told, usually, no questions, no whining, she just clears and washes the table, puts away the leftovers and loads and unloads the dishwasher. The 18 yr old reminds me she is an adult now- I remind her that she gets fed if she helps around the house. :)

Bonnie the Boss said...

Sounds fair to me! A person can only put up with so much!

D-D mom (no, that's NOT my bra size) said...

That's great- I know how you feel. Sometimes it seems like you need a drawbridge and a siren in your kitchen. children escaping.... drawbridge drops ... siren sounds: "Must do dishes! Must do dishes!" Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I think I would have refused to wash any dishes even if it meant I couldn't cook for them. Then I bet they would have gotten the dishes done a lot sooner!

TK the Buckeye nut! said...

So I'm new to your blog so I won't comment on the reminders...I did wonder if Max is on the Autism spectrum though. Some of the things you post about him reminds me a lot of what my son did before he was diagnosed.

Hey It's Di said...

I'm telling you that sounded like a week at my house. And I don't even have the excuse that I'm sick! (OK, maybe I'm sick in the head always:) I usually have to cave because I can't stand the mess any longer.

Jessica G. said...

As tempting as it would be to have you make fun of me on your next post (remember: you sure you want to start with the pregnant lady?)...

I read one post where the mom took all the dirty dishes from the sink and put them in her kids' beds.

myimaginaryblog said...

Woah, dirty dishes in the beds is an AWESOME idea. Trying to think of other variations I could use . . .

ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
ed said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.