In 7th or 8th grade, we went to a local children’s playhouse to see an Edgar Allen Poe series. When we got back to school, a few of us were chuckling and making fun of the poem and their rendition of “The Bells“, thinking it was over the top. “Like, really, who could be driven nuts by bells? And those guys were just yelling ‘bells’, like, over and over. What dorks.” Our English teacher overheard this and was very upset. Clearly, we just didn’t get it.
I think the modern day equivalent of Poe’s “The Bells” would be “The Dishes” or “The Laundry” or both. If I were a poet, I think I could write a pretty intense poem about these things driving a person over the edge. Something fairly innocuous that eventually makes someone insane because it just. never. stops.
I’ve thought of a few ways to make things easier as far as these two things are concerned: as for the dishes, we could eat out every meal, which is not conducive to the ol’ pocket book. Plus, I really love to cook. We could eat on paper plates. Do you remember the ad campaign a couple of years ago that suggested this? The one that was like, “I’m a busy mom! I don’t have time for dishes!” Which, yeah, OBVIOUSLY, I HEAR YA, but in this “go green” culture? No.
Laundry is my nemesis. Just when you think you’ve conquered the laundry beast, you look in the basket, and there’s a pair of socks that got in under the radar. It’s pull-your-hair-out maddening. So, for the laundry, I think everyone should pick one or two outfits that they really love, and we’ll switch them out every couple of days. Noel may get a pass and get a 3rd outfit, since he wears a uniform to school. Make sure what you’ve chosen is comfortable enough to sleep in, because there are no such thing as “pajamas” now. Every year or so, we each pick out a new “uniform” and throw the old ones away (since they are bound to be downright disgusting).
Realistically, this is where incentivizing the kiddos comes in handy. We’ve started handing out a weekly allowance when the boys help out with chores. This has involved picking up their own clothes and toys, and now involves helping out with dishes and laundry. Although it would be much faster if Elliott or I just did it ourselves, having them help out has helped me to feel a little less overwhelmed when doing these tasks. They are even excited to help out…for the most part. Now, I’ll admit, Lennon, given his younger age, is a little easier to con…er, get to help out. This morning, he was helping me put dishes away (even breakables!) and he looked up at me with a big grin and said, “I’m earning my allowance!” We’ve come to realize that if money, i.e. A New Toy is on the line, they are more than willing to help out. The mere mention of The “A” Word, and they are speedily doing whatever we ask. Bribery? Sure. But if we don’t have to conquer this alone, or if it keeps the mundane sound of the washer and dryer and dishwasher from sending me to the looney bin or the opium den, then I’m all for it.
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the throbbing of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells-
To the sobbing of the bells;
Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
In a happy Runic rhyme,
To the rolling of the bells-
Of the bells, bells, bells:
To the tolling of the bells,
Of the bells, bells, bells, bells-
Bells, bells, bells-
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.
~Edgar Allen Poe