I grew up hearing the cliche "the acorn doesn't fall far from the oak"; today, I had an opportunity to see it in action.
Today was a clean-the-house day, mostly because my birthday happened this past week and because I was a little snotty about the sperm donor's plans to spend both days with his guy friends. Normally, I don't give a rat's ass about his social plans, except for when it's at the expense of the shit we need to get done at home. Oh, and the birthday is relevant because I always ask for housecleaning for a gift...isn't that just sad?
So instead of spending two days helping other people, he gets one. I think it's a fair trade, given we both work outside the home. And in the spirit of the weekend, I didn't even start lighting fires under asses until at least noon.
But when I did, I presented the Sprout with a list of chores he was to do. Nothing beyond the ken of a child his age - clean up your own crap wherever it may be, gather your dirty clothes together, make your bed, unload and reload the dishwasher. This last is where it fell apart on him. As the sperm donor was scrubbing away in the kitchen, he discovered that Sprout had not emptied the utensil rack...and we'd all added dirty items to it, thinking that's what was there. Himself lost it, sentenced the Sprout to wash every item in there by hand, dry it all and put it away - clean or dirty, every piece. It degraded from there.
Between every task that child was assigned, he'd hot foot it into the living room, snatching up a hand held gaming device, or staring intently at the television. Even when the TV was turned to nothing but Pandora radio, he would stop what he was doing at the start of each song, running in to see who was singing or the name of the song. Sperm Donor was beside himself - "Just get it done! The more you dawdle, the more of your day you lose!"
But see, here's the thing...the kid didn't lick it off a rock - he comes by this trait honestly. And I know this because I watched his father today. Scrub the counters and clean up the kitchen. Go have a smoke and play sudoko on the iPad for 20 minutes. Clean the bathroom. Go have a smoke then sit on the couch and fiddle with a cell phone for 20 minutes. Put away clean laundry. Go have a smoke then pull out the laptop for half an hour.
I'm also amazed that every weekend, when there's cleaning to be done, the sperm donor tolerates a fantastical amount of procrastination, TV watching, video game playing and all-around shenanigans from the sprout...so long as I'm not harrassing HIM to clean. Oh, now and then he'll mumble "Go do what your mother asked" and be ignored. But the minute HE'S on the spot, it's all hellfire and brimstone if you're not pulling your weight too. It never bodes well for the sprout when Daddy's gotta clean.
Today, the acorn pissed the oak off so much that the acorn lost privileges. Only for a day, nothing too catastrophic. Maybe I need to ride them both to clean EVERY weekend so it's not such an ordeal. Or maybe I need to do that thing I'm very, very close to doing...hiring a cleaning service.