Saturday, August 20, 2011

Putting Aiden to work

Must document this milestone: today, Aiden uttered these words: " Mama, I'm bored." Oh horrors. I thought three year olds never got bored. Their brains are too fertile for that. It struck fear into my heart. Bored children get into trouble. Bored children need structure and challenges... and this at a time when my creativity seems to be at an all time low - just when I need it most! In desperation, I roped him into what I happened to be doing at the moment: washing dishes. The absolute NADIR of domestic chores. (No wait- that would be cleaning the hair out of the shower drain. can I get him to do THAT?) I leaped on the idea that since playing in the sink or bathtub with toys is fun, that washing dishes is a close cousin to that enjoyable past-time. I feel like some sort of nefarious trickster. I taught him how to do wash dishes under the guise of FUN. Oh, I am a wicked woman.

This all comes on the heels of harnessing the capitalist/entrepreneurial spirit yesterday when I offered him a dime to clear the table after dinner. ( Oooo- I know. A dime. Wow. Sweat shop management, here I come. ) He was hankering after the bouncy ball collection of his friend and neighbor Joey, and I suggested that he could earn some money so that next time we go to Walmart, he could buy his own bouncy ball. I have never seen a table get cleared so fast. It was truly miraculous, but not without some hazards - falling silverware etc. It made me smile; I had thought he might be too young for this kind of incentive program, but lo, the capitalist spirit shows up strong at even this tender age. Well, really, it's more of the acquisitive spirit, and that knows no age barrier. This child is the most nakedly materialistic person I have met in my life - he wants almost EVERYTHING he sees that isn't already his. It's a little exhausting. ( Reminds me of this engraving by William Blake.) But anyway, he finished his chore with amazing speed and looked up at me eagerly and said, "Can I have my diamond now?" I had to laugh. From dimes to diamonds. If only! Good luck putting THAT in the bouncy ball machine at Walmart!


Amy said...

My mother got me to help with the dishes by calling it "Soup Pie." I would pour the foamy water from one dish to another, stir with utensils, and eventually wipe with a sponge if she was lucky. I had forgotten all about it until a few weeks ago, when she mentioned a soup she makes, which she nicknamed Soup Pie (it's not dishwater, but a soup consisting of a little of this and a little of that and more carrots because we have lots of those today). I was confused at first why the image of dirty dishwater came to mind rather than soup, until she reminded me of the origins of Soup Pie. We had a good laugh, 25 years after the original Soup Pie. :)

Claire said...

Amy- that is too funny: I too used to do the same thing with my mom! I remember using measuring cups and dumping the water around and stirring it... except my term for it was, "Old Fashioned Pots and Pans." No idea WHY I called it that.

KMS said...

You should tell Aiden what my dad told me when I pulled the "I'm bored" line. He would reply, "Geniuses are never bored." To which I would argue, "I'm not a genius." But then I would try to figure out why he said that, and eventually I did. :-)

If you haven't already, put a funnel in your soapy water upside down (quickly) to make a soap snake. It can be messy, since you can't entirely control WHERE the soap goes, but I'll bet Aiden will like it! Maybe he'll start BEGGING to do dishes!