Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Of Mice and Men

Yesterday afternoon, when Paul and Emma were each working on homework at the dining room table, I came into the room and heard what sounded like footsteps on the second floor. Knowing only the three of us were at home, I stopped in my tracks and asked, “Who is upstairs?!” Our first thought was that it was our puppy. But then Paul spotted Ziva outside. “Could it be Boo?” I wondered. Our cat, Boo, at 17 pounds could easily have made the noise jumping off a bureau or bed, but still, we were not certain of the source of the noise.

Feeling pretty confident however that it was nothing to worry about, I slipped into what is normal play between me and the kids.

“Go look Emma”.

“Mom, no. I am doing my math”.

“Paul, you go look”.


Paul is used to me putting him up to what I call “Man of the House” tasks. If his Dad isn’t home, he’s the “Man of the House” after all, and with that title comes the distinct responsibilities of putting spiders outside, disposing of the occasional dead mouse that Boo has caught, or any other chore that, quite honestly, is a little “icky” for us girls to do. To his credit, he’s a good sport, and I’d even go so far as to say he is a bit proud to help us damsels in distress. He is a gentleman.

Of course, he is only eleven years old. I still have to nag him to do his daily chores. He and Emma are expected to do several household tasks throughout the week. Emptying the cat box, taking out the garbage, cleaning bathrooms, vacuuming, laundry, making supper, or reorganizing a shelf or drawer are some of those chores of maintenance and of course, doing the daily dishes is also necessary. That seems to be the one chore that Paul dislikes the most. He’s content with emptying the dishwasher but ask him to load it up and to do a few dishes by hand and suddenly he’s sighing BIG sighs and scrunching up his face in disgust. He picks up dirty utensils like they contain poison and if you’re not watching him closely, he’ll try to duck out of the room before having to touch the pot that has spaghetti sauce on the side.

Ask him to clean up a half-eaten mouse and he’s proud to protect the ladies of the house. Ask him to go seek out what has made a noise upstairs and he’ll bravely head towards danger. With tasks like these he becomes a noble “Man of the House”. However, ask him to load the dishwasher and well, you see my little boy, That’s okay though. Last week he learned how to do laundry and laughed when I told him it was okay to get a little of the detergent on his hands. After all, it’s soap. I figure I have a little more time to help him become a full fledged “Man of the House”, overcoming his nausea when getting his hands dirty.

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