Go. wash. the. dishes. Wait...what?
It's not so much that my 3-year-old had the audacity to order me to do something (Cary has a long way to go toward understanding his tone, and also what is appropriate to say to adults and what is not. We are working on that. Daily.)
It's that he ordered me to wash the dishes! What is this? 1950?
Careful readers will remember a post from a while back where I detailed the chores-breakdown at our house. In it, I noted that Lester actually washes the dishes the majority of the time in our house. I do my fair share, but it just ends up a lot of times that he does the dishes. So where did that sexist statement come from?
His statement (command?) reminds me of this Modern Love piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/06/fashion/a-feminists-daughter-finds-love-in-the-kitchen.html?emc=eta1&_r=0
I read Modern Love all the time, but this one was one of the most beautiful and nuanced posts they've run, I think.
It's about a daughter of the feminist movement, her complicated relationship with her own mother and how it colors her relationship with her 10-year-old daughter. It starts off when her daughter lists reasons why she loves her.
"You make my lunch most days,” she began, “and you make dinner,” the blogger says. Other observations followed, including that she was “huggy” and “smart.” But first came the kitchen.
The post goes on to explore the writer's many feelings about being connected to the kitchen. "Why does food service count the most?" she wonders.
But in the end -- as she revisits her childhood, kindly, but not rosily -- she comes to the conclusion that it's not so bad being associated with the kitchen, a warm place where people are fed and nourished in various ways - all important. She says:
I know how much the mundane care of children matters. That is why I stop work when the school day ends and greet my daughter with a hug. I may be tired, stressed out or grumpy; I may bemoan the confinement, the repetition, the career limits. But I do it anyway. I pull away from paid pursuits and open myself to the opportunity to delight in my daughter.
My delight comes freely, inspired by a leggy girl with rich brown eyes who has just come home. But our time together is about more than delight. When I hand her a snack and look into her face, seeking the stories of her day, I intend for her to feel how much she matters. She matters more to me right then than anything I could be doing without her. And we will not have these afternoons forever.
We will not have these afternoons forever. Or these evenings on our floor between dinner and bedtime, playing Legos, reading books, tumbling off the sofa, playing "monster" or doing puzzles.
Which is why I ignored my child's tone, and his directive, and kept right on helping.
Those dishes can wait. So can the lecture on feminist history.
And one day in the not-too-far-off future, it'll be Cary's job to do the dishes.