Dirty dishes in sink

I have five kids — so I'm clearly one card short of a full deck, and my judgment should always be in question.

My children, on the other hand, are relatively intelligent beings. They’ve done well enough in school and they accomplish perfunctory tasks in their varying levels of the world with a fair amount of competence.

So why are they unable to complete the following simple tasks?

Pick up things on the floor.

If I didn’t know better, I would think my children have a rare visual disorder that renders them unable to see objects that exist at floor level. If a scrap of paper is dropped on the kitchen floor, it will stay there until I retrieve it. All of the kiddos will walk over it, beside it and around it — multiple times — but that item will remain steadfastly in place until I get to it.

I’m convinced that a ticking explosive could be sitting in the middle of the living room floor with a note taped to it that said “Picking this up will stop it from detonating,” and my kids would still shrug and mutter, “I didn’t leave it there. Not mine.”

Properly close a bag of chips.

Actually, I’m not even holding out for “properly.” I would totally take "haphazardly" or "lazily" close a bag of chips. Any attempt at closing a bag of chips would thrill me to no end.

Because even though the front of our refrigerator is littered with magnetic chip clips and the majority of our snacks have resealable bags, every time I give in to the urge to munch and reach for a bag of salty treats, I find open bags whose contents have become chewy, stale versions of their former selves. 

Put away clothing.

I have a son who removes his shirt within five minutes of walking in the front door — without exception. So not only do we all get the joy of socializing with his belly button on a daily basis, but I also get to return his used shirt to him after he’s abandoned it on the living room sofa. His shirts must be terribly heavy (to him) because it is a rare occasion that he takes his discarded articles with him when he leaves the room.

Add to this my children’s propensity for stripping off their socks while they relax in front of the TV and then leaving the oft-smelly items where they lie. Then multiply that by the number of times their shoes are discarded in a spot where their mother trips over them in the dark and you’ve got a disgruntled parent who mutters and points while shuffling through the house in her slippers.

Put dishes away.

We live in a world where dishwashers exist, so the junior members of my household are gloriously free from washing dishes. All they have to do is open the door, drop the dishes into that most wonderful of appliances and close the door. I don’t even ask them to run it; let mommy do the difficult task of pressing the button.

But alas, even this proves too difficult. Apparently the three feet of space between the sink and dishwasher is far too great a space for them to traverse.

Maybe I ask too much. Perhaps these are difficult tasks and I’m just an overachiever for performing them with ease. Am I? 

I don't think so.

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Lynn Kirkle is a writer and lives in Omaha with her husband and five children. She writes twice a month for momaha.com, and can be found on Twitter @LAPainter.

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