Yesterday afternoon, before siblings and neighbor friends got home from school, Mark declared himself bored.
I did what mothers everywhere do when their children are bored. I had him help me clean the bathrooms.
He doesn't think it's a form of punishment like my other two would. He loves swirling around suds and water. (The child is generous with cleaning products.) I showed him how to use the handheld shower head to reach over to rinse the nearby bathtub in our master bathroom. He thought I was a genius. I confessed it had originally been his dad's idea.
"That's the secret to a happy life," I told Mark, "Marry someone smart."
Mark nodded, thinking. "I don't know if I can marry someone as smart as dad. I'll try though."
He happily helped me clean the bathrooms and then I sat him down at the kitchen table with all the various reward cards and punch cards and who know what kinds of cards that are bursting at my wallet's seams. I told him to sort them. He did gleefully. I entered all the reward cards onto an app on my phone and that made my wallet skinny and svelte.
Mark, no longer bored and thinking his Legos had sat unused long enough, said, "Do you mind if I go upstairs now?"
I teach Mark school every day but he teaches me a lot too. I need to keep him busy. He's happy to help me. Everyone is happy being useful and needed. Also, I want to bottle up Mark's enthusiasm for projects and diffuse the room with it. Life's pretty great. Sometimes, if you're lucky, you get to slosh warm suds around a room and then sort brightly colored plastic cards into piles. What's not to love?
P.S. Happy birthday to my dear little sister today. If you want to laugh at her witty writing and be delighted by pictures of her cuter than average children, you should check out her blog. Olivia is the chocolate chips in my cookie.