I stayed up way too late last night (reveling in my new carefree frame of mind) and therefore slept in way too late this afternoon. And despite not having to clean up after anyone, I'm feeling like a failure. As I probably should.
So far, this grand experiment seems to be having the most practical impact on Man-Cub. He complained to me yesterday that he did not have any clean clothes to wear. Actually, he declared it as if it was the greatest injustice ever committed against mankind. This surprised me. Man-Cub does not usually care one whit about the cleanliness of his clothing. As long as he can wear shorts and a t-shirt (which he can't because it's winter--and despite it being one of the coldest winters we've had in a long time we have this conflict every single day) he is happy. He has never before cared about wearing the same shirt he's picked up off of his bedroom floor the past four mornings in a row. But NOW, now that Mom isn't doing the laundry anymore, THIS CANNOT BE!
When he said, very pitifully, that he had no clothes for the next day (again, this is new. He has NEVER thought more than 3 seconds ahead when it comes to his clothes--with the exception of Halloween), I told him, very sweetly, that he would have to wash some then.
His carefully practiced pitiful face instantly morphed into one of outrage and shock (here's where the greatest injustice ever committed against mankind was declared). How did I expect HIM to wash his own clothes? Does it matter how many times I've told him that by the age of ten I was doing all of my family's laundry, start to finish? No. Does it matter that he knows how to light a fire, build a catapult and design fantastical buildings, weapons and machinery that could probably be built and actually work and that working a washing machine is far easier? No.
Thus began Man-Cub's First Lesson in Laundry. I think his future wife will thank me. The experience was rather funny. At least to me. I had him gather the clothes he wanted to wash. I made him include two pairs of underpants. His pile consisted of jeans, t-shirts, his snowpants and his Batman cape. Ok, whatever, this is his laundry. I guess he doesn't plan on wearing socks or he will just wear dirty ones. Let's ignore that for now...
I showed him how to fill the washer. I explained what the buttons meant and which settings he wanted to use. He seemed weirdly interested. He did it all himself, under my watchful eye and then I went back to the computer.
And then...he kept skipping into the kitchen to ask if his clothes would be done yet. Like I was timing a roast. The little weirdo was excited! I kept telling him to go in and listen and look at the dial. He must have checked it 8 times. And then when it was done, he bounded into the room shouting, "It's DONE," like the timer for brownies had just gone off.
I told him to put the wet clothes into the dryer.
He came running back in to tell me there were already clothes in the dryer.
"Are they dry?"
Runs back into laundry room. Runs back. "Yes, they're dry."
"Then you need to put them into a basket."
Exasperated flap of arms. "There aren't any!"
"Did you look?"
*sigh* "Look, first, in the laundry room. Then try the upstairs bathroom closet. Then try your sister's room, then the classroom, then my room. Go."
Comes back down, stomping feet. "They're all full."
"Then you're going to have to empty one."
"If the clothes are clean, you can put them away. If they're dirty you can put them in the laundry room."
Stomps out. Stomps back in a few moments later, "Where do I put the clean clothes out of the dryer?"
"I don't know. Your sister has been putting hers on the couch."
"But they're not folded and they're falling all over the floor and getting dirty. Who is going to fold them?"
BINGO! SCORE ONE FOR ME! I am always on a tirade about them letting the clothes fall all over the floor. And I don't mean because I've left them unfolded on the couch. I fold them and stack them neatly in laundry baskets. The children are supposed to put the laundry away. But they often don't and instead paw through the clothes, scattering them all over the floor where the hairy dog likes to sleep on them. But back to our laundry and life lesson:
"I don't know."
He stomps off again. I hear the dryer door slam and the dial being turned.
A few minutes later, Man-Cub comes tearing into the room, practically wringing his hands, "I FORGOT TO PUT THE DRYER SHEET IN!!!" I am not kidding, he acted like he had just broken a window!
"CALM DOWN! Go open the door, put the sheet in, close the door and push the button again."
Much later, after the clothes were dry, Man-Cub came sauntering into the dining room wearing an entirely fresh outfit of clothes, rubbing his hands all over his shirt, purring, "Yup, nice and clean and soft," as if he'd never felt anything so amazing in all his life.
And then The Viking made him tidy up the living room while Redheaded Snippet swept the kitchen and all good feelings were gone.