My boys are pretty good about doing their chores, but they have - how shall I say this? Different standards than I do. Very different standards. Boy in Black considers the kitchen clean if the dishwasher is loaded and running, and the counters wiped clean. Dirty pots and pans piled in the sink are apparently invisible to him. Shaggy Hair Boy chose the chore of cleaning the bathroom with the idea, I think, that he was choosing the smallest and easiest room, and was horrified to discover that he was expected to clean the toilet. ("Why would anyone do that?") With-a-Why considers the living room clean if he's vacuumed the very middle of the room. Stuff piled on the piano or on hearth or in the corner by the drum set is all just part of the normal decor and not to be bothered with.
I am pretty relaxed about the way the house looks, but one thing drives me crazy. I hate it when the kids toss stuff behind the couch. At any given time, you can pull the couch away from the wall and find all kinds of junk behind it. Even though it's not visible to anyone else, I can't stand the thought of it.
Shaggy Hair is the worst culprit. If a bunch of us are all settled in the living room, he won't ever get up to walk to the garbage can in the kitchen. He won't take the risk of losing his spot on the comfy couch. We have room only for one couch and one chair so comfy places to sit are always in demand. Instead of moving from where he is sitting, Shaggy Hair will crumple a homework paper and toss it over the top of the couch.
"Shaggy Hair!" I will scream on cue. And always, he gives me a look of surprised innocence. Did I honestly expect him to move from his comfy spot? And risk losing the spot to a sibling or extra?
"I have a great idea," he said one day, "I am going to invent a garbage can that fits right behind the couch. So that you can throw anything there - popsicle sticks, broken pencils, whatever."
He tossed his long curls and gave a serious look from his freckled face, "Wouldn't that be a great invention?"
"I don't know," said Film Guy from across the room, "I think you might have trouble marketing it to anyone outside this family."