Monday night, my kids were crowded together on the couch watching Phineas and Ferb on Netflix. I was in the kitchen getting dinner ready when I noticed the dishwasher was full and clean, and needed to be emptied. This is not my job. The kids unload the dishwasher. I don’t really care which kid – usually they all work together. Sometimes they split the chores and two will do the dishwasher while the others do something else. I don’t much care about the how or who as long as the work is done and no one is injured in the process.
So, wanting to get dishes out of the sink and off the counter to make my dinner prep easier, I called in to the kids and asked them to pause their show and come and unload the dishwasher. There are five of them (even Ivy helps) so we’re talking a five minute break, IF they go slow. Not too much to ask, is it?
Apparently, it WAS too much to ask. My request was met with sarcasm and disdain as my sweet darling children reminded me that they’d already unloaded the dishwasher once earlier in the day. Did I really expect them to do it AGAIN?! Then, they turned back to their show and didn’t move a muscle.
A little shocked, but mostly just annoyed, I didn’t say another word. Ivy came to help me unload the dishwasher and we took care of it on our own.
Fifteen minutes later, the show was over and my kids crowded around the island in the kitchen and asked me what was for dinner. To their question, I smiled sweetly and replied,
“I’m sorry, I already fed you once today. Did you really expect me to feed you AGAIN?!”
And then I left the kitchen.
I wish I’d had a camera to capture the looks on their faces. They wanted to be mad, to scream and yell and wallow in the injustice of not being fed. But they knew they deserved it. They couldn’t say a word.
I told the kids they were welcome to make themselves a sandwich and have a piece of fruit. Which they did. I know I could have harped and urged and demanded they get up and unload the dishwasher when I asked. But what would that have taught them? That they only have to listen after Mom asks three times? I’m never one to turn down the opportunity for a good object lesson…
(cue evil, maniacal mother laughter here…)