Me: "Who has the best seat in the house, me or daddy?"

Adam: "Well, Daddy's is nice, but yours is best. Your's is squishier."

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Standing Corrected

This is my kitchen table. Only it never looks like this. Generally, there is about a foot of CRAP piled on it. It is never the same pile of crap. It changes from day to day, hour to hour. There are papers, books, backpacks, wrappers, toys, cereal boxes... all things migrate to this table. It is the "central" in our Grand Central Station. It is the vortex of evil clutter.

We had a rough morning. Ethan couldn't find clothes to wear to school because the boys had left their clothes on the bedroom floor when laundry time came and they missed the boat (I only wash clothes that make their way to the laundry room). It wasn't pretty. Let's just say things got very loud. Ethan had to do the dig-and-sniff to find pants to wear, and he left the house in a foul mood.

Only his mood didn't all go with him. I held on to a piece of it and took really good care of it all day. I nurtured it by attempting to dig the boys out of the overwhelming mess they had made for themselves in their room, only to become overwhelmed myself. By noon I was in tears. Really? EIGHT dirty socks behind the bed? My kitchen tongs in the drawer? As my friend, Rebekah, states with indignation: Seriously? I mean, SERIOUSLY?!?

By the time I had to leave to get the kids, I had myself worked into quite a lather. Or foaming at the mouth. Not sure which. I left the boys room to head for carpool duty, only to stumble through a messy house I had not gotten to yet. I began muttering under my breath. I hatched a plan that for tonight's family night I would sit down and make a long list of all that is required to run a household, and highlight in different colors the jobs each person does. Next we would make some new rules about chores and helping out. I was sure that if I could get them to see the light, I might get a little more help around here, and maybe a smattering of good old fashioned respect, too.

I called Guy to see if he was still upset too from how rough the morning had been. I told him I thought we needed to make some changes, get the kids to help more... the whole song and dance. But before I could tell him of my master plan, he interjected, "I have been thinking a lot about this today. I thought I would leave work a little early and take Ethan out for some one on one time. I think that the kids just need more of us. They have so much going on and all we ever do is order them around and tell them to hurry up. I think Ethan would behave better if he got more positive attention." He unfolded how he planned to take turns with the kids, one each week, for one-on-one time. He even planned a way for me to do the same.

So, Guy had his plan and I had mine.

Guy and Ethan went to a 50's diner and worked on homework together over a plate of french fries. I began my list.

Ethan came home talking about the dancing waiters and drawing silly faces in ketchup with dad on their plates.

I was still grumpy.

I demanded help with dinner (to teach us to work together). I demanded everyone stay until the dishes were done (to teach us to finish the job). We had family armed with a handful of highlighter pens and my printout of chores.

Ellie liked the fact that I was coloring.

Tessa, who somehow drops toys like dogs shed hair, piped in innocently claiming, "I pick up all my toys."

Ethan was very focused on a coin he was flipping in the air.

Adam tried to listen, until he found a coin, too.

Guy tolerated me.

Bedtime hustle came and went, and here I sit on the couch with a lightly snoring hubby beside me. I think that, despite my excellent plan, I am no further ahead on this problem than I was when I got out of bed this morning. Sitting here amid laundry baskets, I am pretty sure that by morning all of my big plans will have been quite forgotten by everyone but me. And about 20 minutes later, the kitchen table will be a complete mess.

But I think Ethan might remember french fries and ketchup faces for a long, long time.

Wish I had been a fly on the wall at the diner. Well, a fly with a camera. But since I couldn't, here are Daddy and Adam having some one-on-one time.


rebekahmott said...

So true so true!! I may not have a table collection, but I have room collections. Sometimes it is hard and we maybe the only one that cares. We do our best and try to find peace, I love the picture of Adam and Guy!

Jackie said...

That sounds like me a bit lately! I've always been good at making chore lists for everyone and then being offending when they weren't recieved warmly, if at all! I think Dad's are so super when they do something like that. It does help. Chore lists are ok too though. I guess we just have to learn not to feel injured when people don't buy into our plans as much as we do! ;)