In my continuing quest to win the Mother of the Year award, I’ve been having a bit of a battle of wills with Little Brother. He’s 9 and really feeling his oats these days. And I’ve pretty much had it.
He’s the one who’s home more often than not, so he’s the one who gets the chores that fall into the category that a certain camp director I once knew termed “Duties As Assigned.” Basically, that means “do whatever the person in charge asks you to do.” With a shortage of teenagers around here these past few weeks (Middle Sister’s been involved in the play at school), the only one around to help with Duties As Assigned is Little Brother.
There has been much moaning, groaning, weeping, wailing, and let’s not forget the gnashing of teeth, about how he’s expected to do all the chores around here. Must be why he’s so at home in the theatre; he certainly does have a flair for the dramatic.
Last night we were all home for dinner for the first time in several weeks, and we got up from the table and opened up the boxes of Christmas ornaments to decorate the tree. That done, we remembered that there was still a kitchen to clean up. TheDad asked all the kids to help me get that done.
Two teenagers headed in and got water running and started emptying clean dishes from the dishwasher. I handed Little Brother the silverware basket, and he began removing forks and placing them on the still-unwiped table where I’d carved the roast chicken earlier.
That’s when it got ugly, so I just sent him to bed, which involved me spending the next half hour repeating, “Good night, Little Brother” until he finally gave up (Curses! Foiled again by Mom’s Broken-Record Parenting Technique.)
After lunch today, I asked Big Brother to please take out the kitchen trash. He said, “OK” and started to get up. Little Brother chimed in, “GOOD! I don’t have to do all the chores around here for once.”
You know where this is going, right? Here’s what I said next: “Big Brother, sit down. Little Brother, please take out the kitchen trash.”
That had better be the end of it.