Friday, July 15, 2005

To clean or not to clean...

I know I've said I've tried to bring my boys up so that they're self-sufficient, but the truth of the matter is, ever since my husband and I split, I kinda took over in the household department. Which means, they've basically not done anything since. They don't make their beds every day, they don't clean their rooms, in fact, I'd be stunned speechless if they actually put their laundry into the basket supplied in their bedrooms.

When my ex left, the boys were 9 and 8 years old. As far as I'm concerned, that's on the borderline of becoming household helpers. They were helping in the kitchen, keeping their rooms tidy and occasionally doing vacuuming and setting the table for dinner etc.

Now, here we are, almost 7 years down the track, and what I started to do all those years ago, has almost disappeared into the ether. In fact, I'll even go as far as saying, I'VE changing my household cleaning habits since then too. So much so, that these days, I don't have any of those kinds of habits at all. And don't even ask me about cooking dinner every night. Let me just say, the boys have become almost proficient in the kitchen...purely out of necessity.

Occasionally, I'll feel negligent and cook a hearty meal...protein, carbs, veges wtih lots of iron etc, the works...but most of the time, the kids are fending for themselves. As long as I make sure the pantry's full of things they're capable of throwing together, it's all good.

Then we have the whining "there's nothing to eat in the cupboards, you need to do something shopping". The problem I have here, is that there is plenty of food in the cupboards, but they have to do something with the food that's there, for it to become edible. This is not a good thing if they can't be bothered (they get that attitude from me). They would much rather reach into the pantry and pull out a complete steak meal, than worry about having to chuck a piece of meat in the frying pan.

14's got an insane thirst for mandarins at the moment. He's practically consumed more than 5 kilograms of this small orange fruit by himself over the course of the past 2-3 weeks (no, really, I'm not kidding). As long as there are chillibeans, corn chips, cheese and sourcream around, 15 will survive. Oh, and bacon...he loves to cook bacon. The mess he leaves behind can sometimes look like a giant tomato recently exploded in the kitchen, so we're currently working on the 'post-cooking operation' procedure.

14 has perfected the art of making scrambled eggs. I say "art" because that's how he feels about scrambled eggs. If he were able to, he'd survive forever on scrambled eggs and mandarins.

The other night as I was slamming things around in the kitchen and loading the dishwasher I started ranting at them about actually putting dishes in the washer, as opposed to leaving them all over the benchtop. "How hard is it to rinse the plate and place it in the dishwasher for crying out loud??"

After lunch with Annette yesterday, I came home, knocked on 15's door and said "You're cooking dinner tonight". I hopped in the shower, went to bed to snooze for an hour...came out, read blogs, spoke to Walker...and then 15's coming over to my computer corner of the lounge. "You better come and get some dinner before we eat it all". We had tacos...easy enough for him to put together, and yummy...the best bit being, I didn't have to do it.

This morning I decided it was time they pull out finger and did something around the house. This was easier to achieve than I realised.... but only because...

14: "I'm just going to vacuum my bedroom ok?"
Me: "Eh? How come?"
14: "Oh just because it's getting really dirty and messy in there"
(I'm surprised he can see the carpet to vacuum it, but who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth?)
Me: "Are you expecting one of your friends to come and visit?"
14: *laughs* "No"
Me: "Oh ok, that's cool...you can bring the vacuum out here and do the lounge/dining area as well then."
14: "Oh...damn...yeah ok."

Walker is dubious about 14's motivation and wants to know if 14's done something recently to warrant the sudden activity. I'm just going to live in lala land and think that my son has become 'mess-aware' and decided to do something about it.

Inspired by 14, I strode down the hallway to knock on 15's bedroom door.

15: "Yeah?"
Me: "Get together your dirty laundry, it's time you put a load in the machine"
15: "Oh...yeah ok"

He came out, arms full of clothing, stood in the laundry and proceeded to turn everything inside out, shook all his socks 'out', loaded the machine, tipped in the laundry powder and hit the button. My God, I was watching a professional laundrymat employee!

I had to fight the urge to get out the camera and take a photo of each of them doing their respective spot of cleaning today.

Now if only I could get one or both of them to clean out the cat litter box. I'm pretty sure I'd be pushing my luck there.

All these years I've been doing these things (or not doing them), I had no idea that all I needed to do was TELL them and they'd do it. Sheesh....how dumb am I??!
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