This is how the boys clean the kitchen, when they're all back at our cave. It's not pretty, and typically involves a lot of slurping up leftovers, smacking one another on the backside with a dish towel and more often than not... one brother doing the majority of the work. However, it gets done.
Believe me, their methods are different than mine. And believe me, if I had my way back when the wise husband said it was time for them to start pitching in - when they were small - I would have corrected their methods right away. Every time. Translation: done it all for them...my way. The best way. Or, at least the best way, as I saw it.
I'm not saying I didn't initially spend time showing them a proper way of doing things. I did. But, one day, Caveman caught me "perfecting" a chore one of the boys had just completed...to the best of his little Kindergarten ability. "Honey, if you're always 'fixing' things, after he's done a great job for a six-year-old... well, think how defeated he must feel. He's going to start asking 'why bother?'"
I thought about that. I couldn't expect my three, little guys to fold towels like Martha Stewart. But, I could expect them to pitch in as best they could around the house. We are a family, we all chip in. We just all chip in differently, in different ways with different abilities.
One boy was great with yard work, another could organize the pantry better than your grandma. Yet another didn't have to be told to take the trash out. More than once or twice a day, anyway.
Did I mention towels? Starting when the boys were two, four and six, I would dump the clean towels on the couch where the youngest folded the wash cloths, the middle folded the hand towels and the oldest folded the bath towels. It was quite a sight to watch them, their little tongues hanging out and pressed down to one side, working hard to accomplish the task.
The oldest would have a fairly nice pile of somewhat folded linens. The middle, well, his were at least "stacked." But, the baby...he pretty much just made a new pile of wash cloths that looked like the original pile of wash cloths dumped from the basket. And you know what? With the wisdom of my hubby wringing in my ears, I learned to overcome the urge to "fix" and cheered, "Good job, guys!" and put them in the linen closet. Exactly as they were handed to me.
That baby is now 18, and my mother says he produces a folded towel better than those found in luxury hotels. It's true. He's like a towel-folding guru.
This is just a simple admonishment for all of you out there holding your tongue as you painfully watch a child, his or her own tongue pressed, working hard to accomplish a task. Big task, small task, silly task, life-changing task.
You do what you can. You model. You love. You pray.
In the blink of an eye, you have nicely folded towels.
Enjoy the wadded up wash cloths while they last. My almost empty cave has a linen closet full of perfection. And it makes me about as sad as kitchen clean-up without a little tomfoolery.
It all gets done, cave friends.
Much sooner than you think.