Sunday, April 18, 2010

Division of Labor

We spent the day doing something unusual in our household.  We CLEANED.  I know this is an unnatural way to spend a weekend day, and likely means we are headed someplace hot in the afterlife, since we didn't even make it to church.  I'm banking on "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," winning us some points.

At the end of a day spent nagging the kids, and ignoring all the whining and footstomping, we do actually have progress to show for all the aggravation.  The only thing that makes this even remotely interesting enough to blog about is which chores each child gravitated toward.

Teddy was trained a few months ago on the fine art of cleaning toilets and the floor around them.  I felt a bit like Huck Finn conning kids into whitewashing Aunt Polly's fence.  "Look, son, you could earn real $money$ cleaning toilets with this here amazing sanitizing powder!  It even turns blue when it gets wet--isn't that cool?!"

My objection to cleaning toilets in a household of 3 males is that as the only female in the house, my aim is a lot better than everyone else's.  We once called in a plumber to address what I was sure was a leak in the toilet near the back of the floor.  There was a yellow stain there every morning.  The plumber was too polite and kind to charge us for the wasted trip.  Upon questioning our 3-year old, we discovered he didn't like to turn on the light in the dark, as it was too bright--so he just guessed where he was aiming...  The problem was solved by replacing the bulbs with lower wattage and strong encouragement to look where he was going...

Luckily, Teddy does not feel at all put-upon.  He pointed out, "Gross doesn't bother me, Mom" and he does like having money to buy things.  Looking for equivalent money earning opportunities for Barley, but not quite trusting him with anything containing bleach, we worked out chores cleaning the sinks with baking soda, and cleaning countertops and mirrors.

Teddy did his indoor chores with no problem, and headed out to mow the front lawn.  The new push mower is enough of a novelty that this is still "fun."  Barley wanted to be outside also today, and he gamely pulled weeds, scraped aphids off the rosebush, raked leaves from the back lawn, and then mowed it.  He willingly swept the clippings from the sidewalk, and even offered to water the plants for me.  What is notable was he happily did outside chores, most of which he was not getting paid for, but dragged his heels on cleaning sinks which would actually earn him cash.  He vacuumed without complaint, but hours of nagging to pick up toys only caused festering resentment, instead of motivating him to get the chore over with.

DH and I will look at the chore list, and try to shift more of the outdoor, and heavier work to Barley.  With his sensory integration issues, I think the heavy resistance just feels better to him, and he certainly prefers to be outdoors whenever he can. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm wholeheartedly with you on the toilet cleaning issue.


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