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Putting children to work as housekeepers

by doodaddy on April 15, 2010

“You really have to clean your room every day or else it gets ridiculous,” said my daughter.

Yep, read that again: said my daughter.

Fern was talking to a friend in the car, gloriously oblivious to my presence as only four-year olds can be oblivious. Like when kids hide their face in a couch cushion and think that means you can’t see them, they also think that when you’re driving, you’re not listening to them.

And in that state, my four-year old described how she tries to keep her room tidy. Her friend always has a clean room, but then again, her mom is way more, um, formidable than I could ever muster.

So maybe Fern was blowing smoke, but I have another theory: in her soul, she’s really a neat freak, but it’s human nature to hide our true selves from our parents, at all expense.

Or at least that’s kid human nature. I follow a BBC radio soap opera (doesn’t everyone?) and one of the storylines at the moment revolves around the teen girl who wants to go on holiday with her older boyfriend. Her stodgy parents don’t let her — she’s got exams coming up, and he’s older — and she gives them hell about it. But to everyone else she meets she’s completely reasonable, explaining how she really needed to study and how missing him makes her love even stronger.

Only her parents get the “you’ll-never-understand-me” and “you-suck-romaine-lettuce” treatment.

Just like me if I make Fern clean her room.

And if I catch Fern just right, she loves to do chores with me. Anything involving water, obviously, is a huge game, but the room takes serious threat, or reward, or bribe, or else (and this is usually the case) I just clean it. To myself, I pretend I’m modeling good behavior, which my favorite clutter blog tells me is very important.

And overhearing that conversation made me realize: maybe some of what I’m saying about taming clutter, about keeping one’s environment tidy, about being responsible for your OWN! DRATTED! SHOES! — maybe some of that’s actually getting across.

Not that she’d ever admit that to me! Friends are for talking to — daddies are for aggravating.

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in activities,exhaustion,housework ·

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

mom, again May 1, 2010 at 11:57 pm

do not discourage this beleif that she can’t hear you when you are driving. it about 10 years, it will be very handy that your are the invisible, non-listening driver. You’ll learn all sorts of things. Mostly about other children’s misbehaviour, but still, you’ll have insight into the sort of risks she’s running into.


VIOLA*MOMMY May 5, 2010 at 9:42 pm

hehe…my son just started doing this. We were coming back from wee-ball (really kids just running around and pushing each other over to get a ball) and my son was talking in the backseat to himself saying that it was bull (yes his words) that Erik gets to have a leapster clickster game thingy….I guess as a boy he thinks he needs games! HEHE good lucky daddy…I’m sure you will hear MANY more of these days, as I remember doing to my parents.


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