but my house is cleaner than it was before.
One of my boys, whom I shall call The Perpetrator, was having issues with distraction Friday morning. He found a multitude of excuses as to why he couldn’t do this school assignment or another.
I decided to make him suffer.
And I wanted to benefit from the situation somehow.
So I made a list of chores that needed done and I was behind on:
Take Christmas decoration boxes to basement. (Yeah, I know, it’s February).
Take down Christmas lights, card and tape over the family room windows. Put in a Christmas box. (I’ve been busy, okay?)
Thoroughly sweep the kitchen and dining room, taking care to get all corners and under furniture. (It is a BIG room.)
Mop with old rags, on hands and knees, the entire kitchen and dining room. (This last part was thrown in after reading a discussion among homeschool moms on a message board about how often they clean their floors. I got paranoid. Transferred paranoia to my wayward child. By now, Sid is shaking his head in amusement over ” the ladies.”)
A half hour later, I was schooling the girls in the schoolroom, when I hear the sounds of relaxed conversation and laughter. I assumed my other son, whom I shall call TenderHeart in this story, was distracting The Perpetrator. Marching into the kitchen, I planned to pull TenderHeart into the schoolroom with the girls and me.
What I found instead were two boys, on their knees, happily scrubbing away at the floor.
And appearing to enjoy themselves.
“Ahem,” I say. “TenderHeart, WHAT are you doing?”
“I am helping The Perpetrator clean the floor.”
“I don’t think you understand,” I say. “This is supposed to be a PUNISHMENT. Punishments are not enjoyable, but is SOUNDS like you guys are having fun.”
“Actually,” says The Perpetrator, ” this is kind of fun.”
Hmmmmm, I think to myself, I wonder if he realizes that he still has do his morning school AFTER he finishes the chores. I’m betting he won’t think the punishment is fun then.
Walking away, I heard The Perpetrator happily whistling.
An amazingly short time later, The Perp reports to me that his chore list is done. I inspected to find superior work. “I swept the whole room a second time after we mopped, because it stirred up more dirt from the cracks in the wood floor,” he tells me. Is this a sign of the diligence I have longed to see in him?
Then The Perp heads off to the schoolroom, without any reminders from me, and pleasantly finishes up his schoolwork.
And I am left with a much cleaner house and a confused brain. Do I just not understand punishment or perhaps it is the workings of the male brain that befuddles me? And if he really is becoming diligent, how else will I get my house clean?