I used to hate doing them.
Until I had kids. Then I changed my mind.
Because dishes? They are a mini-spa. A bubble bath for the hands. And the sound of running water drowns out all but the most insistent bickering.
But lately? The dishes are once again something that I loathe. Because I’m not the only one doing them anymore. (Well, I never was the only one. My husband is an equal opportunity washer).
The newest member of the kitchen crew is Cole. He’s in charge of getting his own dishes done. Which, in theory, is a double win. I spend less time at the sink (fabulous though it may be) and he learns responsibility, picking up after himself, and contributing to the family. Or, at least, he learns how to wash dishes.
And he does wash them. Eventually.
The dishes tend to stack up. A plate here, a bowl and spoon there. A pizza pan underneath them all. Then they migrate to the sink. At some forgotten point years ago, we must have mentioned the power of the pre-wash soak. He apparently took that conversation very seriously. Some days, his dishes spend half the day submerged. Then, then they are washed.
And washed well. He’s never broken a single one. And I can’t think of a time when I’ve found one that was anything other than sparkling clean.
It would just be great if it all happened a bit faster. But faster isn’t what I am trying to teach. Not yet.
That’s the thing, isn’t it? If we try to pile too many lessons onto one experience, none of them get learned.
It’s hard. Or at least, it’s hard for me. Slowing down and thinking, what’s the one? What’s the important thing I hope happens here? I need to stop. And figure it out. And then let go of all the other things I also wish would be learned at exactlythesametime. If I push too many too soon the entire thing collapses. Progress, I try to remember, is a step-at-a-time process.
Right now “please do your dishes” is still a daily conversation. Which means, as much as I loathe it, washing is still the lesson. Maybe someday he’ll realize doing dishes isn’t something to avoid. It’s actually fun. Like a bubble bath for your hands.
I just wonder if he’ll realize this before he has kids of his own.
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Lessons, like dishes, are best done one at a time. What lesson are you washing with your kids right now? We each have a story, I’d love to hear yours.
P.S. success! here we are not two weeks later and Cole is doing his dishes right after each meal. step-at-a-time, step-at-a-time.