Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Past Deadline: Monkey See, Monkey Do

As seen on TV! I mean, in The Perth Courier, Aug. 11/09.

Monkey see, monkey do

Apparently I have my work cut out for me, and maybe that means I should cut out some of my work.

It has been a long summer. The weather, in case you haven’t noticed, has been stinky. We have been inside a lot. All of us. Including two parents working from home and two energetic children. And two indoor cats. And a turtle and seven fish. (The turtle and fish are fairly quiet.)

More than usual, there is constant clutter peppered with occasional mayhem, chaos and general loudness. So c’mon over! Mind the cat hair tumbleweed.

I have never ever professed to be a model housekeeper. With all the crew cooped up in the rainy wetness this summer, staying ahead of things even in my shoddy, haphazard way has been challenging. This house full of people (some of them large) translates into an unrelenting routine of laundry, dishes and tidying.

So what? I’ll get to that.

This is a no brainer, but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about parenting it’s that kids learn from role models, and their role models are usually parents. Without you having to explain it all, they learn from how you treat people and animals. They observe your work ethic. They glean things from the way you talk. They mimic your manners.

As such, you can spend your days and nights teaching them to read in English, French, Spanish and Swahili while playing the violin with their feet, but if you, as the parent, have a potty mouth and are rude to waiters, then monkey see, monkey do.

Several months ago Boychild announced to my mom that when he grew up he wanted to stay home and type like Mommy. I wasn’t really surprised. After all, I work from home and spend a lot of time typing at the computer. Now that Groom-boy stays home and types, too, perhaps we’ve firmly cemented his career aspirations.


I suppose it’s not too late for me to enrol in med school or become an engineer – as long as there’s no math. What? There is? Oh.


So what does all of this have to do with my rambling about clutter and mayhem? Well, one night last week we were coming home from an event that took place over the supper hour. We decided to get some take out since time was marching on. Boychild resisted. He didn’t want any of the choices offered, so I said, heaving a huge dramatic sigh, that I could make him a grilled cheese sandwich at home.

“Pretty soon you’ll have to learn to cook for yourself,” Groom-boy teased.

“No, I won’t,” Boychild said. “When I grow up and get married the woman will cook for me.”



Groom-boy cracked up and nearly drove off the road. I muttered something about being dropped off on the street corner. Boychild thought it was all pretty funny.

Monkey see, monkey do.

Stands to reason, though, especially considering Groom-boy melted a hole completely through a metal baking sheet the other day when he accidentally turned on the wrong stove element. Perhaps he shouldn’t be allowed in the kitchen.

I’m afraid to think about what other “life lessons” my children are absorbing.

It got me to thinking, though. This must surely be a sign. This must mean it is time for mommy to go away on a two-week vacation and leave Groom-boy in charge of everything. Hm. But then I might not have ANY baking sheets left. Or maybe mommy needs to learn a construction trade or build a space shuttle or become a lumberjack or a paramedic or a mechanic or something equally non-traditional for this houseful of writer/editor/communicator types.

Hm. Decisions. Nah, I think the two-week vacation is a better idea. Where should I go? Definitely somewhere that involves someone else cooking for me and doing the laundry and picking up messes.

Failing that, maybe I should at least relinquish some of my (ahem) control and insist that some of the men folk in the house take over more of the culinary duties. First, though, a little lesson on which knobby thingy turns on which burner might be in order.


Karen said...

Oh, Steph! That is so funny. One of my friends from high school posted a picture to Facebook of their kitchen after the FIRE that ensued when her husband tried to make a special meal for her. Hah! My Morris thinks his father drinks coffee and water all day at work. That's it. He drinks bevvies!

momma's heart said...

Oh my goodness! You are hilarious! Does he always put your daughter's clothes on backwards, too? That's what my hubby does. He's pretty good in the kitchen though, thank God.