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Not So Wordless Wednesday

by Christine@TheAums on March 2, 2011 · 7 comments

If you haven’t noticed, I recently learned about the Wordless Wednesday tradition of simply posting a picture for the day. The picture is supposed to speak for itself and give the blogger a break from writing yet another stirring, thought-provoking piece *insert laughter*. When I first chose this picture I was mainly thinking, “Cool! Kids washing dishes and a cute baby butt…this will go over well with my readers!” I could’ve left it at that, but the more I looked at this image, the more I kept having an inner discussion with myself about all the unspoken values that were simultaneously happening when I snapped it.
First, this picture is the upside of having a broken dishwasher. Second, I have found nothing better to distract the kids from getting on my each other’s nerves than good ol’ housework.  So, I asked for volunteers and immediately my 6 year-old son and 21 month-old daughter came running. I showed him how to fill a sink with soapy water, soak dishes, and use a sponge. I showed her how to rinse and carefully put aside to dry. She of course got lost in playing with the water, but I still popped by occasionally to show her and rinse the pile my son was making.
I’m not surprised that kids can be taught to do so many things you wouldn’t think them old enough for, but I’m always amazed to see it in action. Breaking down any activity into sequential steps and letting them follow through with hands-on experience is a recipe for success, understanding, and satisfaction. Yeah, it might’ve been easier and faster for me to wash the dishes in 10 minutes compared to their 45.  But what would they have gotten out of it? Probably just a mom tired of cleaning up after them.  Instead, my son was really thinking about the whole process of washing dishes.  He said to me, “Wow, there are a lot of steps to washing dishes. One person washes them, one rinses them, one dries them, and one puts them away.” I told him that was the reason I had 4 kids!
It wasn’t long before his 5 year-old brother wanted to help…imagine that, kids wanting to help each other do housework! My goal of teaching teamwork and responsibility was happening right before my eyes and with very little effort on my part. My kids were joyfully learning life skills and gaining independence. One day, washing dishes will just be washing dishes but today, washing dishes is fun work that is giving my Aumies a sense of accomplishment and self-worth.
Oh, and let’s not forget that cute little baby butt…the result of my 21 month-old exploring potty training on her own.  Sometimes I feel guilty that baby #4 is doing so much by herself and then I think, wow, it’s amazing what kids will do when it’s modeled for them and not forced. And why should I feel guilty when I see that same sense of satisfaction after she pees and poops in the potty at home, in a public restroom, on a plane!

Having four kids close in age has been made way easier by nurturing their independence and having confidence that they are capable. I took one more look at the picture above and it left me speechless, or shall I say “wordless.” 

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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous March 2, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I love this picture and that they are doing dishes is just a added bonus… I would love it if you made a calender of mommy moments..
Thanks for making my day!

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Dave March 3, 2011 at 12:32 am

How do you always manage to turn these things into fun learning experiences. Makes me want to wash dishes!
Don't know how you do it but keep it up.
That pic is great…..d

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Sara March 3, 2011 at 5:59 pm

Ok I love this post for so many reasons, first of all you write like I think. second, you made me think about letting my kids 'run with it' a bit more to see what lessons come out of things. third, you are funny!
thanks for making me stop and think and for the smile, I will let my kids make dinner tonight and see what lessons they learn while I sip a glass of cabernet. keep up the good job momma! visiting from SITS (I think that's where.)

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The Aums Mama March 3, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Sara, you made more than my day! I will try sipping wine too…why didn't I think of that sooner? Take care!

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Kimberly March 4, 2011 at 12:24 am

Super cute photo!

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alamodestuff March 5, 2011 at 1:46 am

You are supermom! I'm thinking this photo should come out at graduation, weddings, or simply as bribery when they aren't as compliant in their teen years

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The Aums Mama March 5, 2011 at 5:16 am

Oh, I have WAY more incriminating photos than this…bwahahahahaha!

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