Sunday, February 20, 2005

The excuses kids come up with

my 13 year old step-son Andrew lets his room accumulate considerable entropy. This doesn't surprise me (I didn't learn the basic rule of housekeeping until I was 42*)

So one day a while ago I was playing the role of wicked step-father. You probably know the deal. One ascends the stairs and enters the room; if you're lucky you don't need to hold your breath. Then you espy the 17 empty coke cans, the 4 glasses each containing various amounts of fermenting milk (I refer to it as kvass - Andrew would be one of the few kids in North America who now knows what kvass is) and the 7 plates containing remnants of cake or pie from a week or so ago.

So on this occasion he decided to rebel a little. He said 'This is my lifestyle.' It took a while to stop laughing. And yes, I was a complete bastard; I didn't accept his lifestyle decision and he, with a considerable amount of disgruntlement, took each plate and each glass downstairs, scrubbed them by hand under hot water and deposited them in the dishwasher. He then, under my instruction, filled the appropriate receptacles with detergent and rinser and learned how to operate the machine. Fat lot of good it did. A week later we repeated the performance. And again a week later. We're still repeating the performance. I know what's happening - he hopes I'll give up and let him go his own way (rather in the way that Old Jock did) - but I'm a stubborn old fart; I won't give in. And suddenly, sometime in the future Andrew will discover that he CAN do things for himself; he can operate machinery and can't hide behind being a kid any longer.

*the basic rule of housekeeping is 'clean as you go'. It's a lot less painful to rinse that plate and put it in the dishwasher now than it will be in 24 hours time... you get the idea.

No comments: