the boy and the dishes

It was after lunch and I was hustling around cleaning up the various kitchen hot spots—stove, table, counter—while.my son did the dishes. Because my son washes dishes as though he has a hundred hours in each day and not a care in the world (read, slooooowly), I had set the timer for him.

“Get this many dishes done in ten minutes or else you have a window to wash, too,” I threatened.

So he was washing at a steady pace—not super-fast, but not slooooowly either.

However, the other thing he does when he washes dishes is he talks.

Or whistles.

Or sings.

Or makes weird noises.

Or asks questions.

It’s more of an undercurrent of sound, not loud and abrasive, so I wasn’t paying him any mind this afternoon until he said, “Mom?”

“Um, yeah, um…” I said, focused on straightening out the throw rug. And then, suddenly aware of the question dangling in the air, “Oh, sorry. I wasn’t listening. Try again.”

“Nah,” he said cheerfully.

I paused my clean-up to observe him washing. I do this occasionally—turn myself into a hawk, head jutting forward, eyes popping and piercing—because we have trouble with the dishes getting all the way clean. Every business needs quality control management and the home kitchen is no different. There’s no point in washing the dishes if they aren’t going to get clean, I’m forever saying.

“Boy,” I harped, “you didn’t even wash the mouth of that glass! And all I used it for was cutting out the muffins. It’s filthy! Look at what you’re doing!”

Unfazed, my son swiped the rag over the glass’s rim. “I’ve washed more dishes in my life than you have in yours,” he stated calmly.

“Yeah, whatever.”

“As soon as I was born,” he continued, “my mama looked me in the eye and said, GO WASH THE DISHES.”

Which is probably what it feels like. I’ll give him that much.

***

In other news, another Kitchen Chronicles is out this week. It’s all about eggs.

And Dutch Puff.

This puff gets divided four ways and disappears lickety-split. Soon I’ll have to make two each time. (Actually, my daughter is the Dutch puff maker. All I do is bake it.)

This same time, years previous: cream puffs (another thing to make if you’re swimming in eggs), oatmeal crackers

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