The first time my son "did his own laundry," he just put things in the washing machine.
Thank God that was all he did!
We had just purchased a new machine because our sweet, but not very competent, cleaner overloaded our old machine one too many times.
With the new machine came my new idea to teach my kids to do their own laundry!
My son finally rose to the call and I was so happy... until I went to the machine to show him how to add detergent.
He had packed that new machine so full that it might have called it quits right then and there!
I tried to explain how to fill the machine and suggested that he have me check it for the first few times.
Well, that was enough to scare my son away from doing yet another task.
Between the challenge of knowing how much is “enough but not too much” and the burden of having to get me to come check it, my son did not even attempt to do another load of laundry...
... until yesterday.
He needed socks for a tiyul (hike) and I told him to sort through the laundry and find all the socks buried there.
When we packed his tiyul bag last night, I realized I forgot to do the laundry.
I had seen a few socks in the laundry, but with everything else that was going on, I did not get around to adding anything and starting the load.
"I did it," my son told me, proudly.
He ran a load with only 10 socks in it!!!
OK, OK, I know, I know. I should have just told him "good job!" I should have just commended him for taking care of it himself. I should have kept my eye on my goal, which is for him to do his own laundry!
But a load of laundry with only 10 socks, maybe less!?!?!
I could not stop myself from telling him that he really should have added other items, since it is really a waste of water and electricity (not to mention money).
Do I get any points for not yelling?
At the time, I felt so proud of myself for correcting him just once, gently, just so he should know. I even made sure to emphasize that the mistake was “no big deal.”
He did not seem too upset by the whole thing.
We went to the machine to quickly place the socks in the dryer.
Then my son remembered.
With a sheepish grin, he informed me, "I forgot to add detergent."
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,