Maybe I overreacted.
We typically don’t do school on Fridays; it is reserved for trips to the library, hikes, and various errands. However, I had none of that planned today, so — to the boys’ utmost shock — I decided to do some school with them this morning. They weren’t really pleased. Well, that’s not quite true. Wesley and Ethan didn’t mind; after all, it was only read-aloud type stuff we were doing; no seatwork. Grant, however, copped an attitude, which I did my best to encourage him to control.
However, towards the end of a book we were reading, I asked Grant a question, and he responded with a blank look and, “I wasn’t listening because I don’t care.”
I can’t say I flipped out, because there was no yelling involved. But, I did let him know that that sort of response indicates that he was wasting his time and mine, and had absolutely no appreciation for the investment I was choosing to make in him, instead of doing other things I could be doing, like the mountain of dishes.
I know this is sounding like a broken record, but because of baseball, and because of our budget-crunch which doesn’t allow for eating out, when the morning’s school is over, and lunch is over, and everyone is down for a quiet time or nap, I typically do a lot of cooking as fast as I can, leaving a wreck in my wake, then run out the door to practice or a game, then get home late. We then all eat as fast as we can, then flop into bed, or I sink into the couch at 10:30, with absolutely no energy or motivation left to clean the kitchen.
In a family of seven (six eaters, though), dishes can stack up awfully fast that way. Yesterday, I ran the dishwasher twice, but there were STILL dishes, mostly the ones that need to be handwashed.
So, I told Grant that this morning, I had made a conscious decision to do school with them, instead of tackling the dishes. I then told him that in order to help him appreciate my time and efforts, he was going to wash the dishes for me.
“But, I’ve never washed dishes! I don’t know how!” came the predictable response.
“Well, you’re nine. It’s time you learn.”
And, he did.
I did school with Wesley, coming in every 20 minutes or so to check on Grant, and dry and put away the ones he’d done. The ones, that is, that didn’t need to go back into the sink because of grime or grease.
It took him a good hour and a half.
Part of me thinks that it’s likely unreasonable to expect a 9yo to really appreciate what his mother does. So, maybe I did overreact…
But, he IS nine, and he DOES need to know how to do the dishes.