We returned home from the cottage tonight. I walked through our front door, looked around, and said:
“Holy cow, this house is gorgeous! Who gets to live here?”
I mean, the cottage was nice, as cottages go, but this house is jaw-dropping gorgeous. All of the kids agree. I’m still looking around as I type this, marvelling at the colours (all my favourites!) and the smell of the oiled-wood floors. My office nook is cozy and neat; the pantry looks enormous to me. As much as I appreciated this house before our vacation, right now I’m astonished and grateful that I get to live here.
We decided to come home early—we have the cottage until Friday—because it turned cold and rainy today and was forecast to be that way for the rest of the week. The kids were elated to come home early; I could have stayed at the cottage a few more days, because drizzle doesn’t deter me from kayaking.
Remember how proud I was of them for their stamina and discipline in yesterday’s post? I take at least some of that back. While Mr. December worked and I bustled around tidying up the cottage, only one child helped pack without complaint. Two others did about half of what I asked of them, and the third required… shall I call it “special treatment”?
As I often say, parenting is about helping our children use their gifts for good and not evil; today I had that chance with R. When she wants something, she pesters and insists until her target finally gives in. She was perfect for this job.
“Hey R, your brother isn’t pulling his weight at all. It’s not fair. Can you please get him to vacuum the floors?”
She was only too happy to oblige, and Mr. December and I grinned as we heard her usual insistent tone being directed at someone other than ourselves.
“N! Stop being so lazy! Everyone else is working!” (Well, it’s partially true, I mused.) “You’re supposed to be vacuuming the floors, not lying here reading! Get up! Get up! Oh, come on! Get up!…” And on she went until he finally gave up on any hope of being able to read.
Was it wrong to use one child against the other this way? When I put it that way, maybe it was. On the other hand, if I call it something like “leveraging my human resources to maximize productivity,” it would be fine. Either way, I gave my daughter a way to use her gift (persistence to the point of obnoxiousness) for the common good… and in my book, that’s some good parenting.