Thursday, January 3, 2013

Teach them in the way they should go...

One of my constant failures as a parent is in assuming my kids just KNOW how to do things. You know, THINGS. Wash their own hair, brush their own teeth, put your pants on frontwards (as opposed to backwards). Things.

But apparently, these are not part of the human evolutionary knowledge, as evidenced by the frustration in my voice every.single.night when I have to say, "No, you're NOT finished in the shower, you didn't get all of the shampoo out of your hair!"

To be fair, we've moved past a lot of THINGS that they now KNOW how to do. Getting dressed, making their beds, putting dishes on the counter after meals. So tonight, we officially moved on to higher order chores. Tonight was the first night either of my kids have helped with the dishes.

When I say helped, keep in mind that a) I'm talking about John and b) John is five.

With one piece of leftover pizza sitting on the countertop, I say, "John, please grab a baggie and put the last piece of pizza away."

Blank stare. Crickets. Tumbleweeds. The longest single moment of silence you'll get out of my son in any given 24 hour period.

So as the new, improved, blogging Mama Coussoule, I think, he just needs more specific direction! Which, I quickly realized, meant step-by-literal-step direction.

Go to the drawer. Take out a plastic baggie. Not that baggie, the other one. Yes, no. No, yes, no, NO, YES!!! (accompanied by teeny fingers pointing at boxes in the drawer, but too quickly to register the "yes" when it happens). Bring the baggie over here. Open the baggie. Put the pizza in the baggie. Turn the pizza so that it fits. Now close the baggie.

And that's where we hit a wall. Close the baggie, you say? What kind of ingenious contraption is this baggie closure? While the Ziploc masterminds may think the pink and blue closures are explanatory enough, I beg to differ. This required adult intervention and a demonstration of how the pink and blue go together, so that John could slide his fingers the rest of the way across.

You know what, though? That simple act of the first click of the closure in the corner resulted in delight. Delight in squeezing the colored lines together; delight in finding it actually closed; and delight in putting the leftovers in the fridge all by himself. No yelling, no tears, no frustrated stomping away. By either party.

So who actually did the teaching tonight, anyway?

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