Thursday, February 01, 2007

I am thankful that I'm not using a tub of water and a scrub board.

So laundry is a constant chore at our house. Those of you who live in a house with more than one person know what I'm talking about. With five people in one house, the laundry is NEVER done. There is always something that needs to be washed- between underwear, t-shirts, work clothes, coats, bath mats and rugs, towels, and sheets, there is ALWAYS something that needs washing. If I make the mistake of going three or four days without doing any laundry at all, it means an entire day of laundry. I've had days where I've done fourteen loads of laundry in one day. It's a lot of laundry we make. If there was a contest for making the most dirty laundry in one household, I'm pretty sure that we'd KICK YOUR ASS, SUCKERS. Then, if there was a contest for doing the most laundry, and I'm talking wash, dry, fold, and put away, in one day, well I'd just have to BEAT YOUR ASS AND WIPE THE FLOOR WITH IT, that's how good at doing the laundry I am. I am fast, focused, and efficient.

So last night I decided I ought to go ahead and do Kane and Jude's laundry, since it tends to REALLY pile up during the week. It should have been about three days worth of laundry, so I figured it would be a full basket. It was, in fact, a full basket, so full that that it could have filled two baskets had I not shoved it into one. I started sorting it and found that Jude had shoved FIVE COATS, five winter coats that weren't dirty and had no business being in the dirty laundry basket into the dirty laundry basket.

I'd like to add here that Jude and putting things where they belong don't mix. Seriously. I have been instructing him on how to put his dirty socks in the hamper for four years now, and I don't exaggerate on that one. I realize that he's only seven, but "Put those in the basket." is not out of his league. The kid can WOOP YOUR ASS on the Playstation, he can ride a bike and skateboard, he can give you a look that practically says out loud, "You eat shit and you die." He can put his dirty socks in the hamper. He just doesn't. It's a choice that he makes, see?

ANYWAY, putting his coats in the closet is just another one of those ongoing battles that we have. I have mentioned here before how Jude is a fashion connoisseur, someone who changes his clothes several times a day to make sure that he always looks hip and stylish. He has been known to put on a shirt, go to the bathroom and splash water all over it, come out and say, "I got water all over this shirt so I'm going to have to change." (This comes from my having freaked out on him for a couple of years about how I can't possibly do all the laundry he produces when he puts on a damn fashion show every day, that's how many times he'll change clothes. He knows that he can't just change shirts. But he also knows that when he gets crap all over himself, Jason and I both balk and immediately tell him to put on something clean already. SEE? He is smart enough to manipulate us, and he's smart enough to put his dirty socks in the hamper.)

He's also been known to drop jelly on the kitchen counter and wipe it up with the shirt he's wearing, but that's a different story.

ANYWAY, if left to his own devices, he'll wear a coat to school, which no matter how cold it is outside comes home in his backpack. When he does his homework, he'll pull that coat out and throw it on the living room floor. Once he's done, he'll put on another coat to go jump on the trampoline. Then he'll come in to get a snack, and throw that coat under the kitchen table. Then he'll want to go ride his bike, so he'll put on another coat. Then he'll come in to play Wii, and that coat will be tossed into the floor of the computer room. Then he'll go outside to jump some more, so he'll put on ANOTHER DAMN COAT. So then, before dinner, I'll say "JUDE I'M GOING TO KILL YOU AND BURY YOU IN THE BACK YARD IF YOU DON'T PICK UP ALL THESE DAMN COATS." So he'll pick them up and throw them all into his bedroom floor.

So, what eventually happens (I will never get to the point) is I walk by his room, see 847 coats in the floor, and ask him to hang them in the closet. And I'm SPECIFIC, people; I've learned not to be general about anything. I've also learned to at least start out talking sweetly and not making a big deal. So I will sweetly, calmly, and quietly ask him to hang his coats up in his closet.

Apparently this week he decided to stuff them into the hamper when I asked him to hang them up. So the next thing I know, I'm shaking coats at him and having a meltdown. I was all, "I can't do this, Jude! It's too hard! It's too much work! I CANNOT DO ALL THIS LAUNDRY!" I'm pretty sure that I freaked him right on out. I told him that he gets to wear one set of clean clothes a day, and that unless there is something on the coat like jelly or whatever else he decides to clean up with his own clothing it gets hung up in the closet. He was like, "Okay."

Then I found the packet of reading homework that he didn't tell us about. But that's another story.


Jason, Promulgator of Unsought Advice said...

I like to think of our piles of laundry as pieces of interactive artwork. That way they have their own special purpose and do not need constant washing.

Hmm, I wonder why Jude prefers playstation, physical activity, and giving you dirty looks over hanging clothes??? Could it be that the former are intrinsically rewarding while hanging clothes is a purposeless (to him) and neverending task (do to the amount of laundry). Plus if he doesn't hang his clothes he might get a chance to give you one of those looks!

I think limiting his clothing consumption is a great idea. But how could you make hanging his clothes a rewarding experience...

Anonymous said...

Man, I dunno if it's POSSIBLE to make hanging jackets rewarding...

Jason, you should come up with somehting since you've opened this Pandora's box. Maybe readers could send suggestion?

jason, promulgator of unsought advice said...

There are many ways that Buffy and Jason could go about this. I suspect, however, that if someone can make peeing into a white porcelain bowl fun they could do the same for hanging jackets. Of course jackets don't have streams to cross.

Patty said...

Hmm, I was going to say...every time you find a coat in the wrong place - hide it! He'll soon be down to one coat. Maybe he can earn back other coats by hanging up the one lonely coat that he has left a certain number of days in a row! I am full of helpful behavior modification plans! Ha. And a teacher and mother of 3 who hangs up an awful lot of coats for people that are perfectly capable of hanging up their own. (But I do hide muddy shoes that aren't lined up neatly on the ramp...making it take just THAT much longer to get ready for recess.)