Wednesdays are generally cleaning day in the Schneider Haus. Particularly with having two kids and a dog all lockdown together 24/7, there is generally no shortage of cleaning to do.
We believe it’s really important to get the kids to be involved in cleaning and household chores. Of course, getting them to do the kinds of things we actually need them to do is always a challenge.
For example, some of the grown up cleaning tasks that Erin and I have to engage in include things like cleaning bathrooms, showers and tubs and lots of things that include annoying scrubbing, etc. Much of what we are getting the kids to do basically involves putting stuff they dragged out back where it belongs.
It it is not difficult in the least for either of the kids, for example, to bring some toys or stuffies from our upstairs play room down to the living room. Asking them to return those toys to their proper place, however, is madness. It is essentially moving an object with the same weight over the same distance. Still, they have a way of trying to make us feel that these requests are totally unreasonable.
There are often cries of “It’s not fair!” That gets me thinking that, as both a father and a word geek, I’ve apparently failed to properly communicate the meaning of the word “fair.” In my understanding of the term, I’d think that a person cleaning up a mess they created is the very definition of fair. To a kid, I think “fair” means something more like the ability to leave stuff everywhere, watch whatever they want and eat whatever they want, whenever they want. There’s a bit of a semantic gap there.
So while we struggle, nudge and fight to get them to do those basic things, with wails and cries all throughout, later in the afternoon when I started doing some sweeping and mopping, suddenly both Amelia and Henry became very interested in cleaning and really wanted to help
A couple things there. While of course I am glad to see them be enthusiastic about the process, it sure would be nice to see that level of excitement and cooperation for a task we’d actually like them to do.
Secondly, I couldn’t help but think that Amelia with that mop looked kind of like the Carol Burnett intro cartoon.
She was really hamming it up with that mop, and singing “I LOVE cleaning day!” Of course the yelling was very different a few hours earlier. I assume there must be some reverse psychology thing going on here, where by not asking them to do something, they really want to do it. I imagine by the time I crack that code, they’ll have grown up and moved out.
And secondly, Erin and I have both fully acknowledged the awful truth that living a house with two kids and a dog, cleaning is the ultimate Sisyphean task. This clip from The Simpsons best encapsulates it.