Monday, 5 November 2012

Children, and their usefulness in daily household tasks.

This could also be titled, who to get your little darlings to do stuff for you so you don't have to do it.

And before you think I'm getting all Mary Poppinsy on you, don't worry, I am not magic, don't carry a freakish carpet bag and neither do my kids enjoy doing mundane tasks.  Happily, I do have occasional success, sadly it's mostly when cash is involved.

Exhibit A.  The self serve checkout.

After a bit of training, she can beep like a champion.
Now this is a kids dream.  The power, the control.  The freedom to beep your own groceries.  Who cares if you're all fighting over who gets to beep the pikelets or making sure everyone individually beeps their own chocolate milk.  And never mind the queue of angry customers watching you call the attendant back again and again.  The kids love it, I don't have to do it, and neither do I have to talk to Elaine in checkout 3 about her upcoming hysterectomy, and that's all that matters surely?

Excellent technique. 
Advice:  Only take one child.  It's much easier because they are completely in charge.  And try not to do it at mad times like Saturday afternoons or straight after school drop off because people will hate you.

Exhibit B.  The dishwasher.

Ok now I'll admit I pay Sarah to empty this, or at least, it's part of her pocket money requirements.  But it works a treat.  Sometimes I'll even come downstairs in the morning to find it empty, with only a few items left on the bench because she can't reach the cupboards they're in.  This is because our kitchen is COMPLETELY CRAP.

Advice: The ideal kitchen layout for this to garner the most benefits is one where none of the dishwasherable items are stored above the benches.  Unlikely and impractical?  Sadly yes.

Exhibit C.  The recycling.

Now the handy part about this one, is that school is really big on environmental stuff.  So for Josh to be responsible for taking out the recycling not only helps me, but makes him a star to his teacher on news day.  Every day or so, he pulls out the two manky old beer cartons from under the sink (one for bottles, one for paper) and dumps them unceremoniously into their appropriate council bins outside.  For this, he receives $2 a week.

Manky beer cartons go with our current kitchen decor.
Advice A: Don't make your child take out the bottle bin on the Monday after a weekend of hosting.  Apart from the wrongness of it, he won't be able to pick it up, so dense with champagne and beer bottles it will be.  Don't give your child back troubles before he's even finished growing, and avoid any tricky questions about the consumption habits of you and your friends, and just do it yourself.  Any other time, when you're only dealing with mineral water bottles, tinned tomato cans, butter tubs and the odd Coke Zero, it's a fabulous way to think globally and act locally.

Advice B: In order to avoid finding a lot of paper in your bottle bin (tricky), or bottles in your paper bin (trickier), make sure the child doing the labour can tell blue from yellow and understands the significance of keeping each type of recycling separate.

Exhibit D.  Bed Making.

This is compulsory from age 5 and there is no cash benefit.  So stop arguing, just do it.  I don't care if your doona fell off in the night, how are you supposed to make your way in the world as a responsible adult if a dropped doona stops you dead?  Pick it up and put it back on.  And don't complain to me if your bed is "crinkly" when you get in it at night, you should have straightened the undersheet properly.

Not bad. 
I am the biggest meany no?

While all this industrious activity goes on, I recline gracefully on the couch, sipping cool drinks and watching, sorry Ellen.

Yeah right.