I remember when my Mom first told my sisters and I that one of our new responsibilities was to clear our own plates from the table and put it into the dishwasher. Cleaning up your own stuff seems like a simple thing. But, as I’ve written previously, it is really humbling when your kids engage in the same annoying and maddening behavior that annoyed and maddened your own parents back when you were a kid. Riley somehow cannot see shoes and clothes all over her room. Seriously, I think she has a medical condition that prevents her ocular nerves from recognizing shoe shaped objects. They are everywhere. They might be breeding. And anything that can serve as a hook or hanger has clothes hanging off of it. Although she may get that from me…
I famously once hung a dirty shirt from the handle of the vacuum cleaner my Mom left in my room. What? She told me not to leave my clothes on the floor…
So Riley’s efforts to avoid using a hanger for any of her clothes are a bit familiar. But still unacceptable.
Anyway, for years the girls have been responsible for clearing their own place after meals. I assigned this chore when none of them were tall enough to reach the handle on the faucet. Therefore, Mom or I would rinse off their plates and load them into the dishwasher.
Time and regular growth spurts have rectified that situation.
Unfortunately, two things have become apparent. 1) I was unaware that they would need training to accomplish the rinsing and loading part of the equation. 2) The spray hose we have has a sticky trigger. So it doesn’t always shut off when you take your finger off the trigger. The girls have watered the kitchen floor and counters a few times.
Regardless, I shouldn’t be surprised at their slow progress. It did take them a little while to master the skills associated with keeping your forks and spoons on your plate while carrying them to the sink. There are very few things more discouraging than watching your kids eat an entire meal while keeping nearly all their crumbs and other food remnants on their plates…only to watch most of them dumped onto the kitchen floor when they fail to maintain a level plate surface while relocating it to the sink. Grrr…
But that is trivial when compared to their struggles when you add two seemingly minor actions to this process.
1-Take plate, utensils and beverage container from placemat to sink.
2-Rinse off the previously named items.
3-Take said items and place them into the dishwasher in correct location.
Our dishwasher is located directly adjacent to the sink. All they have to do is open the dishwasher and pivot to their right. Upon completion of the pivot they are in perfect position to execute a top rack or bottom rack plate, cup or bowl load to the dishwasher. Somehow they always end up like Roscoe chasing the Duke boys. Minus the moonshine and Waylon Jennings narrative.
At first, I was unprepared for the level of resistance. Kinda like when Harry Heth marched into Gettysburg and ran into Col. John Buford’s dismounted cavalry on Seminary Ridge. Luckily, this isn’t my first encounter with low level defiance from people shorter than me. Like Bill Walsh and the ’88 Niners, I adjusted my gameplan and expectations.
Instead of getting upset, I’m now pretty sure there is some kind of rare neurological ailment that is physically preventing them from loading the dishwasher. There’s really no other conclusion to draw. It takes less energy and movement to place a cereal bowl into the dishwasher than it does to whine about it.
The exasperation they’ll express upon being reminded about this task is stunning. Its like I asked them to give back all their Halloween candy and Christmas presents. Which is one of those threats you can’t ever really back up but it certainly gets their attention.
Anyway, we’re getting better at this. This morning they rinsed out their cereal bowls and placed them into the dishwasher. I had to rearrange everything but at least they were inside it. All progress is good…