Tuesday, June 21, 2005

ARRrrrggggggGGGGgggghhhHHH - it’s only dishes or is it?

WE have been having a wrangle for the last year, let’s be honest, it’s been much longer than that, about doing the bloody dishes.

Now that the young wan is 13, doing the dishes is one of their household jobs; the others being keeping their room tidy (impossible), tending to the doggie (done mostly by me), general gopher duties (many trips to the shops) and lifting up after themselves (never, never done).


When the dishes first became their domain, oh how they sparkled and shone, the young wan lapped up the praise and took pride in their work. Jaysus you should see the salmonella-ridden dishes and cups now.

It has become normal practice for me to start shouting (understatement of the year) about the state of the dishes prior to dishing out dinner when you find food hardened on plates or cutlery (yeuck) and that’s a good day cos at least the dishes are done.

Then there are the days that the dishes aren’t done… Bear in mind, generally the dishes are only what they have used that day, so it’s actually just cleaning after themselves.

On those days, all hell breaks loose and has a party in our living room. I have just reached a stage in this ongoing battle where if I come in and see the dishes still sitting by the sink, I lose all rhyme and reason, literally.

We live in a small flat, it’s one of those flats where the kitchen (ha, what a big description for such a small place) is in the living room. So while the rest of the flat is messy, with no storage, I NEED to come home after a day’s work to a reasonably tidy living room. It’s like my tidy sanctuary at the end of a busy day.

I have done the talking ‘make sure the dishes are done darlin by the time I get home’, to ‘if those dishes aren’t done, you are dead’ to the shouting, screaming, swearing… Meanwhile the child has grown into a quietly stubborn teenager who would appear to aspire to be the laziest person in Ireland.

So this problem has grown and grown.

Once (let’s not lie it was more than once but on one occasion) I came home to a seemingly tidy living room and the dishes appeared done. I went to get a spoon to make a cup of tea only to discover not one piece of cutlery in the drawer, where on earth were they? Then I noticed a pot was gone as were plates, cups and glasses. In fact there wasn’t one glass left in the cupboard.

Cue one harassed shout to the young wan ‘where’s all my crockery’ who comes in with the obligatory shrug and ‘dunno’.

Now any other parent will tell you, if you aren’t one yourself and then you’ll already know, that children and lying is generally wild easy to spot. I mean really easy and long may that continue. It’s funny though all those times growing up when we wondered how our parents knew when we were up to no good was actually because it really was written all over your face.

So one trip into the bastion of filth that is their bedroom and the hidden treasure hoard were discovered in a storage box…


Not the actual pile, but close…

What kind of foolish, stupid and not to mention loony behaviour is that? And why was my child doing it?

Not knowing at all the answers to any of these strange acts, but sure as we all know it is easier to hide the dishes rather than doing them (ha) and of course Mum won’t shout after finding that little crock of laziness (bigger HA)

That was about a year and a half ago and thankfully after about four episodes of ‘hide the dishes’; the young wan quickly (once again ha) learnt this wasn’t the way to go.


This would never work…

The main problem is that when they come home from school, they think they have all the time in the world to mess about. Don’t talk to me about homework or school, that’s another post entirely and definitely for another day. So the next thing I am calling saying I am two minutes away and panic descends in the RedMum household as one child tries to get the dishes done before I get back.

This generally means just wiping the plates with a tea towel, as if you wouldn’t notice. The young wan is still doing this and no amount of shouting, screaming, rewashing of the dishes by the offender has so far worked, but I plod on safe in the knowledge that the young wan will bend before I do… (Do I sound anyway confident there?)

I have compromised, very rarely is there a shed load of dishes to be done, I will generally try to do that before going to bed, or after dinner itself, so the young wan only has to keep the sink free from their own washing. Unfortunately I seem to have lost out big time in that deal.


It took me sitting down with them recently and explaining that I need their help, I need their contribution to the house, I need to not be wiping their nose at this stage (as you can guess I’m being polite there), that RedMum flies into a red rage now when they are not done and I need them to take a bit more responsibility and pride in our home, such as it is. That means, DO THE BLOODY DISHES.



Lee said...

You crack me up. I started doing dishes when I was about 8 yrs old. Yuck! Still hate em to this day.

Mumof5 said...

I was hoping to get suggestions on how to make my own brood do the washing up. Maybe I should try the red rage. ROFL

Thomas said...

My folks handled the same problem with me in a very proactive manner.

First, they explained to me that poorly washed dishes created certain risks and asked me to do better.

A short time later, after enjoying the majority of Mom's Mac and Cheese Dad madesthe comment that the pot it was served in smelled 'a bit lemony' and might still have some soap residue.

I was able to confirm his suspicions pretty quicky once the soap hit my intestines.

One night of running frantically for the bathroom taught me the valuable lesson their words seemed unable to express!

Good Luck!

RuKsaK said...

I should be paid for giving classes on how to avoid doing dishes - he sounds like a fine apprentice.

Anonymous said...

ha ha I was there when she hid the dishes! Tried so hard not to laugh.
How about you eat off paper plates and she has to eat off the manky dishes, might put a fire under her...more more more redmum, this is brilliant!

Red Mum said...

I tried giving her the manky dishes but can never quite bring myself to do it, though I threaten to all the time.

I remember indeed that you were there when I discovered the plate stash and that was even more frustrating, her acting like a buffoon in front of others, thankfully it was yourself ;)