The one that complains
It was a couple of months before school ended when I realized that I should start giving my middle son, Ryan, new chores. He was 12 at that time but I noticed that his younger brother, Ryland, who’s nine, was doing more chores than him on Sundays.
You see, Sunday is cleaning day at our house and we have a chores list posted on our fridge door. I usually wait until they’re on vacation before I introduce them to new chores but I didn’t like what I’ve been seeing – Ryan trying to get away from chores while his brothers do their share.
Oh yes, I have that list and he knows when it’s his turn to wash the dishes or cook rice but I always have to remind him and even if I do, he will give me a hard time – either complaining or sneaking his way out.
For instance, after he eats snacks in the afternoon, he goes to the basement to play his Gamecube or Playstation. At around 6:00 p.m., I come downstairs to remind him to cook rice within the next half hour if they want to eat at 7:00 p.m., our usual dinnertime. Come 6:30 p.m. and he’s still down there. So I will call him again and he gets mad at me. “Now you ruin my game” or “you ruin my day.” Such irreverence!
Or we will be eating our fruits or desserts after supper and I will remind him. “Ryan, it’s your turn to wash the dishes.” “Aww! Can I not do it?” He will complain. “Oh, you have to do it. Your brothers did their turn,” I will say. And when he thinks I’m not looking, he will slowly slide from his chair, go under the table and run away upstairs. But what he doesn’t know is that I’m watching him and before he could go upstairs, I will be shouting at him, “Come back here, Ryan and don’t you pull that trick on me again.” Then he’ll come back, sometimes grinning and sometimes frowning, depending on his mood.
So it was one Sunday morning when I said, “Ryan, I think you can take over the vacuuming. Kuya Reggie will show you how. Reggie, I am promoting you. I’ll show you how to clean the washroom.”
But that sneaky little booger got away from it and his older brother found a window of opportunity to get away from his also and I don’t know how I ended up doing both of their chores for two weeks.
I tried a different approach on the third week.
“Ryan, how would you like to clean the washroom?” I asked him that Sunday morning. “Ah! I have to clean the toilet?” he complained. Okay, I didn’t want to push it. “No, just the sink and the counter,” I said. So I showed him how to clear the clutter first, spray with Lysol, wait for a few minutes, and then wipe and rinse. “Okay, I can do that,” he replied. What, no complaints? I was surprised. Did he find vacuuming too easy or too boring? Did he find cleaning the sink and counter more challenging? Who knows? But I’m not complaining. And I won’t ask him why for he might change his mind.
So he cleaned the washroom sink and counter. And he’s been doing it every Sunday. That’s one less job for me. And I’m a happy mom.