Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Our children have always had chores. Ask them. They'll tell you, I'm certain of it. They'll probably even see if you have any pull with changing their chores for better (or at least different ones). This is a constant battle cry on the ark.

You see, each one of our children, from tall to small, has at least one if not two small jobs to do during the day. Now, they'll try to convince you that we require stable mucking, toilet scouring and spit-polishing of our shoes. I can assure you, we are much more reasonable than that; yet they still look for everyway possible out of the task at hand.

This has become even moreso as we have already integrated the (on current leave of absence workers-H and Baby T). We had talked to many adoptive families who said, even if it is stacking forks in OCD like fashion and full of minutia, give your newly adopted children a JOB. For to them it is much more than a job, it is a place in their new world-a comforting routine-a cherished family position:

"Well, hello there, and who might you be?"

"Me. Why I'm the A-number-1 cat water replenishment kid! And have you met my sister, the sock sorter?"

And everyone smiles and recognizes their importance on the team. And this is a great concept, don't get me wrong, but with two players out of commission right now, guess who is pinch hitting for them? Yup. Mom and Dad.

But to minimize dissent, we created some guidelines:

1. Thou shalt take one card, no more than zero, but less than two each Sunday.
2. Thou shalt perform the chores on the card every day. Sadly this needed to be a commandment.
3. Thou shalt not switch cards with anyone with out prior approval (not our approval, from the switchee!)
4. Thou shalt perform the chores cheerfully and without grumbling. I mean don't we ALL love to eat from
clean dishes? I thought so.
5. Thou shalt not earmark, deface, destroy or in any other way mark up a particular card that you don't want
to have or conversely that you always want to have.

So after all our commandments about the chore cards (each child gets a new card on Sunday night, there are three "older kid" cards and three "younger kid" cards) I'm finding myself stuck.

This is the second week in a row that H (so by default, my husband and I) have drawn the dishwasher card. Since this is a fairly new system, where we switch each week; and in the past the Boy has held the dishwasher card for many years-only recently passing it to his younger sister I find myself staring at the dirty dishes in my sink and politely calling, "WHO has the dishwasher this week?" Only to be met with the smiling faces of the non-dishwasher card holders saying, equally as politely, "That's all you, Mom." Then I remember my card and pitifully begin to empty the dishwasher. But while I'm standing at the sink, rinsing and loading the dirty dishes, a plan starts to form in my mind. And I'm wondering where on the dishwasher card I could make just a small, barely even noticable mark...they'd never know, right?


Cath said...

In my controlled-democracy where everyone has a voice and Mom and Dad then decide when it matters to the family, the parent is allowed to hand-choose their surrogate cards BEFORE the family drawing. BECAUSE these cards reflect the children's chores. YOU are already doing chores that surpass the ones listed on these cards. I know you are. Alternately, in support of H and T's homecoming, I think the 4 children alternate weeks of drawing H and T's cards so that 2 children double up each week. When H and T come home, they get respite and that feels good.

Chores really are a great way of learning about how society works. :-)

patjrsmom said...

That sounds great to me! Now, when are you available to present this idea to the crew? ;-)

Anonymous said...

I think baby T.andhis sister are so cute:-).But what do I know I'm only 8. love, kathryn

patjrsmom said...

I think you have impeccable taste!