Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Taking out the Trash

Tuesdays are Trash Days here. I have undertaken the task of teaching my little ones how to "take out the trash." (Granted, its freezing cold outside and our driveway is enormously long, so I do the actual "taking out the trash" part, but I have placed them in charge of "Pre-taking-out-the-trash-duties.") This entails: grabbing a large black trash bag, and starting with the basement, all three children empty the trash from all four bathrooms and assorted rooms into the black trash bag, and tie it up neatly and deliver it to me. Things Three and Two hold the bag, while thing One empties the trash receptacle into it. Simple, right?

Apparently not.

Trash Day Activities are the only time when my children really get into it, and like savage animals, claw and fight and scream and growl at each other. My daughter complains that her brothers won't "help hold the bag" or they complain that she won't help them pick up the stuff that falls (ew, I wouldn't either) or they all proclaim mutiny and sit around in the bathroom calling each other nasty names until I either A) march in and swat their behinds or B) scream at them from two floors underneath and threaten them within an inch of their lives because my hands are full of either dishwater/bread dough/puppy drool, and I can't march in at the moment and swat their behinds.
This morning I could hardly get Thing Two to cooperate (he'd had a restless night and was tired to the point of lethargy) and Thing One was flat out refusing to pick up the used tissues around the trashcan (her brothers don't have very good aim as of yet) and Thing Three was calling everyone around him "Fartface" and I was about to shut them all in their rooms and do the deed myself.
But...I read somewhere that you have to let the kids do the chores, even if they do them in "their time" (as opposed to Impatient Mommy Time) because if you do everything yourself they will turn into lazy slobs who curse you when they're older because you never taught them to do anything for themselves and they need to hire out help to tie their shoes and make their beds.

So I suffered through another half-hour long process of complaints and name-calling and me interfering on four different occasions to tell them to "knock it off and hurry up," and it finally got done.

Whew. Now I must go back to bed...

On the research front--things are going swimmingly, I've been tearing through my 1902 Baedeker (I'm a little disappointed the words are in English, but all the maps of Cairo and Thebes and the Nile are in FRENCH, darn it) and my Amelia B. Edwards book 1000 MILES UP THE NILE. She chronicles her travels all over Egypt in 1889. And she describes them in minute detail.
She is one funny lady. One of my favorite passages so far:

"Lastly, there are the minor inconveniences of sun, sand, wind, and flies. The whole place radiates heat, and seems almost to radiate light. The glare from above and the glare from below alike are intolerable. Dazzled, blinded, unable to even look at his subject without the aid of smoke-coloured glasses, the sketcher, whose tent is pitched upon the sandslope over against the Great Temple, enjoys a foretaste of cremation."

Very witty. I think I would have liked to have met her. For now, I'll settle for reading her book.

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