It's washing dishes by hand.
The kids have a few chores in our house- clean their rooms, bring me their laundry, take out the trash and the recyclables, and do the dishes. We have a dishwasher. We have a functioning dishwasher. We have a functioning dishwasher that has been loaded incorrectly by children for a month now. They continuously put something over the center section of the bottom rack so that the water can't get from the bottom of the dishwasher up to the top rack. Every single time they do this, the dishwasher makes a funny sound that apparently only I can hear.
Me (hearing the funny sound): Did y'all load the dishwasher correctly?
The Girl and The Ginger: Yeah.
Me: Whatever, go check it.
The Girl: But Mom, it's done right.
Me: No it's not.
The Girl: How do you know?
Me: Because I'm the Mom, that's how. And, it's making that sound that drives me up the wall.
The Girl (upon opening the dishwasher to see the water is blocked): Oh. My bad.
This went on for about a month until Hubby and I couldn't take it anymore. So, we did what we felt we needed to in order to remedy the situation:
We made the kids start washing the dishes by hand.
What do you get when you make an 11 year old and an 8 year old wash dishes by hand when all they've ever known is a dishwasher?
- Whining, crying, groaning and my personal favorite- anger. They get angry at you for making them wash dishes by hand when it's because they didn't load the dishwasher correctly for over a month that this happened. Funny how that works, isn't it?
- After the 45 minutes it takes to have the dishes washed, you find that you still have dirty dishes.
- Dishes with water spots on them... lots of water spots. Why? Because they think washing is all that doing the dishes entails.
- The following conversation occurs every single day: "When will we be allowed to use the dishwasher again?" "When you can learn to wash the dishes by hand correctly and without whining, crying or arguing." (Starting to cry and in a whining voice:)"But it's not faaaaaiiiirrrrr. Washing dishes by hand is sooooooo stuuuuupidddddddd." And this is a perfect example of why they are still washing dishes by hand for over a week now.
- A toughened immune system because the kids don't know what hot water is. They know cold and colder, so having our dishes washed in cold water means everyone is just sharing everyone else's germs. Good thing we're family, right?
- 2 of those dish washing sponge wands obliterated; sliced all to hell; ripped apart. I'm wondering now if this isn't a ploy to try and get out of washing dishes by hand, or a warning to us.
- Water spots all over your floor... which attract dirt... which means twice as much mopping. If y'all know me, you know I have an OCD thing about a dirty floor. Having the kids fling water everywhere while washing dishes has been HUGE aversion therapy for me and my floor-mopping obsession. Any day now I'll say f*ck it and quit mopping altogether.
- Did I mention you are still left with dirty dishes? This is an important one.
- A dishwasher that's drier than the Sahara desert and is starting to house a little family of spiders. It's cool, we just open the door and let the cats play in there.
- A week of saving on energy costs by not running a dishwasher, but kids who still don't understand that they must embrace the manual labor in order to get back the privilege they had before.
My kids seriously underestimate me, too. They think that if they complain enough and bring on actual waterworks that I'll tell them to just go ahead and use the dishwasher. They think that if they tell me they did the dishes then run upstairs, jump in bed and act like they are asleep, that I won't drag them out of bed when I find a sink full of dirty silverware. They think that I will not stand where the clean dishes are, inspect each piece as they finish with it and put any dirty ones back in the sink when they aren't looking, creating what appears to be a never-ending sink of dirty dishes.
Ha! They don't know me at all!
I will win this battle of wills. And I will honor our original agreement: When they can wash the dishes by hand without crying, whining, complaining or arguing, then they will get dishwasher privileges back.
Anyone want to place bets on how long this will last? How many dish washing spongy wand thingies will be sacrificed in this life lesson? How many glasses of wine I will consume each night when it comes time to do the dishes?