Listening to Grace teach Claire to do the dishes the other night made me smile.

After they got all the dishes crammed in there, detergent loaded in and door closed, Grace wrapped her arm around her sister and pointed out that although there are a lot of buttons on the dishwasher, the only one she needed to know about was the middle one that starts with an “s” for “start.”

As the water swished away behind her once the “s” button was pushed, Claire strutted around the kitchen as proud as a peacock. She was a mighty “dish-do-er” like her big siblings. She claimed that she would help anyone do their dishes when it was their job. She glowed. She beamed. All was right in the world.

I had to smile because her enthusiasm reminded me of each of her siblings when they learned to do dishes. Man alive were they ever excited. The sad thing is that I know the steps in the dish-doing enthusiasm cycle from experience. This is how it goes:

1. Do them all perfectly. Gleam at your wonderful performance.
[one week goes by]
2. Smile fades when you see the mounds of dishes piled up in the sink, but you do them anyway.
[another week passes]
3. Fights ensue over who’s turn it is or who should do it for who since so-and-so missed their turn yesterday, blah blah blah.
[another week]
4. The sudden urge that you HAVE to go to the bathroom mysteriously hits as soon as dinner is over and the dishes are filling the sink. And it’s a long bathroom break you need. Yes, maybe even long enough that your Mother will get sick of waiting for you and absent-mindedly do them herself.

Yes, I know the routine.

Hmmm…maybe this time I can keep the enthusiasm going a little longer.

Oh wait, my enthusiasm for keeping up the kids’ enthusiasm has a cycle as well…No, these pictures have nothing to do with this post…except for that they are the dish-doing girls.

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  1. Now that's funny stuff! Sad, but the reason I had to use the restroom was to flush to food I wouldn't be eating. Pathetic picky eater! But that was only when we didn't have a dog. LOL Cute post.

  2. That's so funny, Shawni!!
    A little reply to your sweet comment left on my blog: sure you can add my blog to your bloglist. I love reading your posts, they're always so inspiring and fun.
    Love, Cristina

  3. I was a pro at the bathroom trick…my mom still brings it up.

    This post is exactly, to the letter, what happens with kids and dishes!!

  4. You don't know me, but I've read your mom's book "A Joyful Mother of Children" multiple times and love, love, love it. My sister came across your blog one day and I just spent two hours reading some of your old posts. Is that creepy? I just want to say "thanks" for sharing your motherhood experiences with the rest of us. It makes me feel normal and not nearly so inadequate. I can't wait to read your new book.

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