Leaving the Dishes

Solitude. Some days you just don’t get it. Some days, you have to fulfill the desires of your children and make the day easier by indulging them.

On a day-to-day basis, I don’t drop everything to play with my kids. I’m a firm believer that they need to learn boundaries. And, it is in setting these boundaries – like nap/quiet time – that I achieve my own moments of solitude. My children need to hear me say that I want to play with them, but that I also need to vacuum the house or that I need to finish my breakfast.

Corbin is a charmer and it’s all too easy to give in to his requests when batting eyelashes, sweet tones and please-don’t-deny-me smiles accompany them. But, if I always give in to him then how will he be able to respect my needs? And, if he can’t respect my needs then God help him because when he becomes a man — or sooner — nobody will respect his. I’ve taught him to ask for privacy when he’s in the bathroom and now when I’m in the bathroom and I ask for privacy, I get it.

He knows now that dishes need to be done after breakfast so he asks me, “When you are finished the breakfast dishes, will you help me with my puzzle?” Sometimes he’ll turn it back on me and tell me, “I will have a bath but first the cars have to have a race.” So long as it doesn’t turn into procrastination or avoidance, I respect this because in his four-year-old head he is setting up some parameters around time and priorities. He’s catching on to this as quickly as he did his rudimentary style of arguing; “I can have four because I’m four, right?”

One day last fall, though, we left the house without doing dishes, without folding laundry or picking up toys. We left our PJ’s on the floor, I forgot to take out the garbage and I left the fruit flies a buffet. Rain be damned, we went to the Saanich Fair. As we drove, Corbin chatted on and on and on about the animals he would see and the hotdog, bun, dip-dip and juice box that he would consume. The Wee Wrestler, Hamish, listened contentedly, making only the occasional comment. Somewhere along the Pat Bay Highway we started a game whereby I would say “Ga!”, Corbin would say “Ga!” and then the two of us would wait with baited breath for The Wee Wrestler to say “Ga!” Then we would laugh and start the whole game again.

At the fair, Mr. Three Because I’m Three rode three rides that cost three tickets each. The Wee Wrestler watched his older brother from the comfort of his front row stroller seat. We stood in line for way too long to buy a hot dog and fries from the Boy Scouts and then I attained a combo plate and chai tea from the India Canada trailer.

Carting all this food around on the hood of our stroller was tenuous to say the least. And, just when we found a dry place to enjoy our spread, my older son announced his need to use the facilities. So, we burdened our food/people carrier cart once again to make the pilgrimage to the washroom. When we returned, our dry seats were, of course, taken, but the rain had subsided and with the help of a receiving blanket on a wet bench, we settled once more to enjoy our fair food. The rain came and went as we made our way through the fairgrounds and not once did I think of what we left behind in our house.

However, by 10:00 pm and after an hour of mindless but entertaining television drivel, I found myself at my computer for the first time. In many ways, I love this kind of a day but by 6:30 pm I felt myself starting to shut down. To me, leaving the dishes is like a holiday. Fun, full of adventure, but definitely not sane for the day-in-day-out. I am of no use to my husband because my kids have taken it all from me. However, some days I have to trade in my solitude for a bit of adventure because it is in those moments of adventure that I find a different kind of peace altogether.


Photo Credit

“Alex in Wonderland 8” independentman @ flickr.com. Creative Commons. Some Rights Reserved.


Recent Christine Shaw Roome Articles:

  • Becoming Me
  • An Award for Being Herself
  • World’s Smallest Book
  • Giving up My Birthday for Water
  • International Women’s Day 2012: Connecting Girls, Inspiring Futures.

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