Bring a Towel!

Daryl was being a bit standoffish this evening. At every opportunity, he disappeared to his room. While fixing dinner, I called him into the kitchen with a simple, “Daryl! Come here!”

“Why?!”

“Because I called you.”

When he entered the room and I asked him to unload the dishwasher, he expressed his displeasure and reluctantly went about completing the task. As he grabbed an ice cube tray and tried to rush across the room, the water sloshed out and onto the floor.

“Make sure you get a towel and clean that up.”

Several minutes later, I looked up from the spaghetti to see that Daryl was gone and the sizable puddle was still on the floor.

“Daryl!”

“What?!”

“Come here, please!”

“Why?!”

“Because I called you.”

He entered the room and I pointed to the floor. “Remember? You need to clean up the water you spilled.”

He flopped and flailed about as I headed to the pantry for some vegetables. When I returned, he was gone and the water had been spread around the floor, but was still very much present.

“Daryl!”

“WHAT?!”

“Come here, please!”

“WHY?!”

“Because I called you.”

“Bring a towel!” added his dad.

This time when he entered, I again pointed to the floor and said, “You didn’t dry the floor enough. It’s still really wet. You need to get a towel.”

The flopping and flailing doubled in intensity from the last time and he stomped into the kitchen and opened the drawer that holds the kitchen textile items.

“I did use a towel! I used one just like this one!”

I looked down at the item in his hand. “That’s a potholder, Daryl.”

Once the laughter subsided and as I hugged him tight, I said, “No wonder you couldn’t get the water soaked up. Potholders aren’t very absorbent. Go get one of the bathroom towels.”

He pulled the disappearing act again at dinner – leaving quietly with a bite of spaghetti and some vegetables still on his plate.

“Daryl!”

“What?”

“Come here!”

“Bring a towel!” called his dad.

When Daryl walked into the room actually carrying a towel, everyone again dissolved into laughter – including him. At our insistence, he finished his dinner before leaving again.

He was called in several more times. Once to rinse his plate, once to rinse his dessert bowl, and one final time to put away the cups from the dishwasher that he had left on the counter.

“Daryl!”

“What?!”

“Come here!”

A little voice… Hal’s… called from the bathroom down the hall, “Bring a towel!”

I looked up at my husband and smiled as he and Jane giggled quietly. Fortunately, all of tonight’s humor at Daryl’s expense was handled by him with good grace.

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Working Hard at Not Working

Children are born with the innate desire to avoid responsibility. Just think about it. How many years do we spend changing their diapers before they decide to get up off their tushes and take care of business?!

Seriously, though. I remember doing this as a kid. I can remember getting my hair wet under the faucet, wetting the bar of soap, sprinkling water on my towel, all so it would look like I had taken a shower.

My brother and I would come up with the most elaborate explanations about why we couldn’t complete our chores while mom was at work. Thing is, I often felt the reasons were legitimate. Truly. We did this so often that when my brother called to tell her that he wouldn’t be finishing mowing the lawn (because the mower had caught fire in the garage), she was already reacting before he cut in with “but the Fire Chief says it’s going to be ok!”

Despite having plenty of experience on the “other team”, I’m still amazed at what my children come up with. Daryl is a true master of work avoidance. Getting him to unload the dishwasher is more work than just doing it yourself. Every. Single. Time.

Tonight, he started unloading it. Within a minute, he was spotted walking down the hallway with his shirt half off.

“What are you doing, Daryl?” asked my husband.

“I’m taking off my shirt,” replied Daryl as he headed to his room at the other end of the house.

“I don’t think so. Get back in the kitchen and take care of business! All this back and forth just wastes time.”

A few minutes later, we saw him again walking down the hall, this time holding a frying pan. As if anticipating our objections, he quickly said, “I’m thirsty. I need a drink of water.”

“Get back in the kitchen, Daryl.” As he physically turned the boy around and directed him back the way he came, he continued, “There’s this amazing thing about kitchens. There’s a water faucet in there. And drinking vessels. Everything you need to get a drink. You don’t need a trip to the bathroom. And what were you going to do with the pan? Drink out of it?”

There were a couple more intercepts before Daddy deemed the job nearly done and walked to our bedroom to talk to me. As we talked, Daryl came down the hall. Plenty of time had passed so Daddy asked for confirmation, “Have you finished unloading the dishwasher?”

“Oh!” Daryl looked slightly disoriented. “No, I forgot. Let me go finish.”

My husband looked at me and sighed. “That boy gets distracted so easily, it’s not even funny. He doesn’t even get the word ‘squirrel’ out before something else attracts his attention!”