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Chores (Ruth’s SOLS 4/31)

“Why do I have to do dishes,” the red-headed six-year-old says.

“Because we’re part of a family and families do chores together,” the eight-year-old responds, putting the last of the clean dishes away.

With her hands on her hips and her chin out, the six-year-old frowns, “I won’t do them. I don’t like to do dishes.”

“You would if you had a happy heart,” the four-year-old says as he zips past her. He’s on napkin-patrol. He jets back to the table to collect the silverware. Rushing past again, with forks in hand, he grins. “Fork-patrol is finished Momma, can I play trains now?”

“Sure, thanks for your help.”

“Anytime,” and he is gone in a flash.

The eight year old puts the last dish away. “May I go play trains too,” she smiles at me.

“Sure, have fun.”

She hugs me and leaves the kitchen. The six-year-old is still standing in the kitchen, refusing to do dishes. She’s almost cute, with her arms crossed, lips set, and red hair flaming. Almost, yet far from it. I start rinsing and stacking the dishes so she can put them in the dishwasher.

“I. Won’t. Do. It,” she says through clenched teeth.

Now, hours after bedtime, the dishes are still on the counter, where they will remain until she puts them into the dishwasher. And I’m left wondering if the battle is worth it and whether free-will is such a good thing after all.

Updated (3.5.2010)

I open the door and am greeted by a swirl of red hair and little arms wrapped around my waist. “Hiiiiiiii-ya Mom!” she plants a kiss of my cheek. “I’m glad you’re home.”

“I’m glad to be home too.”

“Guess what,” she smiles up at me making her dimples appear, “I put the dishes in the dishwasher.” Her arms are still locked around me.

“That’s great, Stephanie.” I give her a squeeze, “What made you decided to do that?”

Earnestly, she replied, “Well you told me to.”

It’s all about babysteps, right?

Ruth Ayres View All

Unhurried. Finding the magic in the middle of living. Capturing a life of ridiculous grace + raw stories.

6 thoughts on “Chores (Ruth’s SOLS 4/31) Leave a comment

  1. Her assertiveness, though time consuming now will serve her well when she’s bigger. Smiling as I think of how you are able to step back and ask the question- which is the start to parent survival:)

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  2. Must be the red hair. 🙂

    Sometimes I wonder how I can manage a room-full of kids, yet my own little spitfire always seems to be a step ahead of me.

    I loved this story and I’m hoping that those dishes are already put away. . Thanks for the wonderful glimpse into your family life.

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  3. I have a son like this. I found 6 to be a challenging age…he sweetened up a lot by 7, I think. And 8. 9 is challenging again.
    I can picture her face so perfectly, and I love the “almost” cute. Yes.

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