Friday, September 15, 2006

The Dish Washer

Once upon a time, a long time ago, in a house far, far away (well, actually, about thirty miles north of here), I had to do the dishes. Actually, not just once, but regularly.

Now, for whatever reason, my mother has always insisted on washing dishes by hand. Oh, we had a dishwasher, but apparently she found the ritualistic dip, scrub, rinse, and dry for each plate, pan, or cup soothing. Uh, yeah. Right.

Me, on the other hand...I was a dishwasher man. And I became a dishwasher-loading expert. Today, I'm one of those people who can't stand it if you don't have the bowls in just the right spot, facing just the right direction. And don't even get me started on how you load the silverware basket!

But never can I say that I actually enjoyed doing the dishes. I suppose I didn't mind it, but soothing? Uh, yeah. Right.

So I was quite pleased when my oldest son was finally old enough to instruct on the ways of doing the dishes. Seven years old is the magic age in our house. You turn seven, and you can scrape and load. So, for an entire year, my boy had the chore of loading dishes.

Then, my second boy turned seven, and so the baton was passed. But, you see, my second son has some issues. He sort of lives in his own little world at times, and you can see, everyday, that his mind isn't on the dishes.

So almost everyday for the past six months I've had to remind him.

"You cannot put dishes in the dishwasher that have food stuck to them."

So, he scrapes off the food. Of course, then he feels the need to rinse off every spec of residue there is before placing the plate in, probably using up about 100 gallons of water in the process. So, I have to remind him.

"You don't have to rinse the dishes that much. Just so there aren't pieces of food."

So, he stops rinsing, and we're back to having food stuck to the plates.

And then there is the fact that he seems in too much of a hurry to actually finish loading. He kind of spreads the dishes around so that it looks like there is no more room, ignoring the fact that we can't see our counters, dumps in the detergent, and rushes off. I check on him and have to remind him.

"You have to fill the dishwaster! If you don't, you'll just end up having to load it twice."

So, he goes back and finishes loading. Well, at least he adds a few more dishes. I think he has a vision problem, though...because he seems incapable of seeing the glasses and silverware strewn across the counter. Once, he even loaded all the bowls (because I reminded him he would need them for breakfast the next morning). But come next morning, there were no spoons.

"Yes, order to have spoons, you have to actually put them in the dishwasher. Now you're gonna have to wash them by hand."

He stares at me blankly, as though I had just asked him to fly.

Of course, when I started my son on the path to responsibility by assigning him dishwasher duty, I expected it to mean I wouldn't have to think about it. But now, I'm beginning to realize that perhaps I should go back to doing it myself. I don't know...I just think it would be more...more...soothing.

Uh, yeah. Right.


Scott K. Johnson said...

Funny stuff!

Ovation Leader said...

My son, at 17, is still dishwasher challenged. There are some battles better left unchallenged. Yet, if he were seven again, I would stand beside him in the lessons on loading all over again.

My battle is no longer about keeping the dishes clean, but keeping his heart clean. And in that he makes a mama proud.