Children - OH MY GOSH - really want to be useful. Vijay and Lakshi plague me for things to do, ways they can help (they are particularly fond of tasks which involve spray bottles of cleaning fluids, washing dishes or mixing cake batter). I try to come up with tasks.
A few days ago, I gave them a laundry assignment. Big hit.
Never establish a precedent with children. Don't even give them a chance to have expectations. I made the mistake of telling them there was another important job for them which they could do the next day. With difficulty, their Mom managed to restrain them from coming down until 2:30 (I was at work until two). She told me later that they said I was WAITING for them because I needed their help on an important job.
When they finally escaped, they scampered in to the house, full of energy and purpose. "MOM!" Lakshi shouted. "Where's our job?"
Thinking fast (I had totally forgotten yesterday's offhand remark which they had grabbed on to as a Divine Order), I asked them to carry the huge collection of Moy's empty Ensure tins from the kitchen to the car - a distance of about 25 steps, and a stack of newspapers from the hall closet to the recycle pile outside.
It would have taken me around five minutes to do it all myself. Lakshi and Vijay?
Hard to say, actually. There were so many diversions.
The boy needed a rest almost immediately.
while the girl, typically, continued to toil . . .
till she decided she needed a rest as well:
after which she discovered the drumming potential of all those plastic lids:
The newspapers had to be scanned for cartoons and recognizable words before they could be carried out:
Two hours later, my important job was finally done.
They were ready for the next assignment. I was ready for bed.