Sunday, September 7, 2008

Division of Labor

My daughter, who is the mother of eight, has considerable blog material but little time to commit that material to a cyber page. I hope she doesn't mind if I report a story she told me last night--one she herself said would make a terrific blog.

Five-year-old Aliou, who is a dishwasher-in-training, was receiving some instructions regarding chores when he looked up at Mama and said, "How come you never have to clean up?"

I can only imagine what went through my daughter's mind upon hearing this: dismay, outrage, counter-attack, frustration, disillusion. Apparently, she swallowed her first response. recognizing this was simply his childish perspective, and managed to reply that while he was outside having playtime, she was inside working and preparing food and cooking meals for him and his siblings.

"But cooking is play," replied Aliou.

OOPS . . . another button pushed, for like me, my daughter is not overly fond of the food preparation part of her life's work. Once again, she managed a noble reply worthy of the mother of eight: "For Auntie Andrea, cooking is play, but for Mama it is hard work."

Later that night at bed time, when the boys were asking about what the next day would bring, Mama listed the planned activities, including Saturday clean up, to which Aliou asked,
"Does Auntie Andrea think Saturday clean-up is play?"

Clearly, Aliou is processing the division of labor with regard to play if not with regard to who does most of the work.

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