At the beginning of each season, we have meetings with the kids to decide which chores they will be doing. At our meeting last weekend, I was pleased when Boy in Black agreed to clean the kitchen this summer. Since he is always the last person to go to sleep at night, I figured he could finish loading the dishwasher and then wash the "big dishes" late at night, and I would wake up every morning to a clean kitchen. What I didn't expect are the weird twists he added to the process.
Here is the scene in our living room yesterday morning.
Me: Why is With-a-Why drinking out of a cereal bowl? Aren't there clean cups?
Boy in Black: He lost his cup privilege.
Me: His ... cup privilege?
Boy in Black: Yep. He didn't put his cup in the dishwasher so now he's lost his cup privilege.
Me: So he can't use a cup?
Boy in Black: That's the way it works around here now.
I have tried for years to get my kids to put their dirty dishes in the dishwasher when they are done with them. No one has ever listened to me. But people listen to Boy in Black. I watched in amazement as With-a-Why finished the bowl of juice he was drinking and put the bowl carefully into the dishwasher. I came back into the kitchen later to find Shaggy Hair Boy washing the pots and pans.
Me: How come you're doing the dishes? Isn't that Boy in Black's job?
Shaggy Hair Boy (mockingly): I lost my fork and plate privilege.
Daughter: So he's got to do some dishes to get them back.
Boy in Black (from his spot on the couch):Yep, that's how it works.
Me (turning on him): Are you eating right out of the sherbet container? That's disgusting!
Boy in Black: I don't want to get a bowl dirty. Now that I'm in charge, we're eliminating the unnecessary use of dishes.
He grinned at me as he stuck his spoon into the big container of rainbow sherbet.
Later that night while I was putting With-a-Why to bed, Boy in Black appeared at the doorway. I looked up from the book we were reading.
Boy in Black: Last time I checked, you were the only vegan in the house, right?
Me: Uh, yeah.
Boy in Black: So you're the only one who drinks soy milk... right?
Me: I guess.
Boy in Black (producing an empty glass): Then this is your cup?
Me: (with a sinking feeling) Well, maybe.
Boy in Black: I found it on the windowsill.
Me (making a quick decision to plead guilty): I was going to put it in the dishwasher as soon as I finished putting With-a-Why to bed.
Boy in Black: I'm sorry, but you've lost your cup privileges.
Boy in Black: That means you need to wash the big dishes.
Me: How fair is that?
Boy in Black: I mean, if you want your cup privileges back.
Me: You can't delegate chores to me!
Boy in Black (grinning): I'm afraid that's the rule.
With-a-Why looked up from behind his book, and the brothers exchanged a triumphant glance. Without another word, Boy in Black left the room.
I looked down at my youngest son, and he gave me a smug smile.