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Now if this isn't a good way to start off the New Year, I don't know what is....

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:56pm

I'm a clean-as-I-go-along kinda person when I'm cooking in the kitchen. I just hate seeing a huge pile of pots, pans and dishes awaiting me after a meal. So two nights ago, as I was cooking dinner, I was washing some of the dishes and Bella came up to me and said, "Mommy, can I do the dishes?". I instantly fainted on the floor. Okay, no, that really didn't happen but I did have to ask her, "can you say that again?" and she repeated herself. Now what needs to be understood here is that it has always been a huge battle to get Cole and Bella to clean up after themselves. They have always been stubborn that way and what it pretty much comes down to is me getting a huge garbage bag and threatening, "alright, if I have to pick up your toys, they're going into this bag and we're gonna take all these toys to the Children's Shelter where they will be appreciated". That usually prompts them to clean up. One time Bella countered back with "fine, take my toys" and I did. She hasn't tested me since.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear her actually ASKING if she could help. I said, "by all means, let me get you a stepstool and I'll show you how to do the dishes". She was all smiles and very happy to help. I couldn't believe my eyes. At the young age of 4, there was my stubborn, strong-willed daughter washing the dishes, without me having to even ask. And, the best part is that she likes doing the dishes. She kept saying "Mommy, this is so much fun....I love washing the dishes", to which I replied, "I'm happy to hear can do the dishes every night if you'd like". Here are a couple pics of her doing the dishes (not sure what's up with the Donald Trump comb-over she has going on in that 2nd pic)

I was sure to give her lots of praise like "wow, look how clean you got this plate" and "even I couldn't clean that pot as well as you did". She gobbled it all up and just kept going, even asking "Mommy, I'm almost you have anything else for me to wash?" It was driving Tim nuts because she was making a bit of a mess, spilling some water on the floor, and sometimes not cleaning some of the pots and pans well enough but I told him to just let her do it and keep praising her....we could go back and clean the floor later and re-wash the dishes if we had to. At one point, he took over and she came crying over to me "Daddy said I can't do the dishes" and she was actually sobbing. I read him the riot act and I think he finally got my point.

Yesterday, all day, she kept asking "Mommy, can I do the dishes again tonight?" and I couldn't help but giggle and say, "why sure you can...are you kidding me??" and then Cole said, "I wanna do the dishes too". Of course he can't be outdone by his twin sister. Then Bella said to him, "no, I'm doing the dishes" and they actually stood there fighting over who was gonna do the dishes. I thought "is this really happening? Are my kids fighting over who's gonna do the dishes? God, are you up there? Do you see this? Are you messing around with me again?". So I got an extra stepstool and they both stood at the sink, washing dishes. I couldn't help but start to sing "what's gonna work? Teamwork! what's gonna work? Teamwork!". I sounded like a complete idiot but it's a very rare occasion that these two even get along so I had to make the most of it while it lasted.

Now I just need to find some toddler-friendly chores that I can get Garrett and Landon to do....and then I might actually be able to sit on my butt zoning out on the tv while eating bon-bons at least 1 night a week. A girl can dream.

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