Every superhero has a nemesis. Lex Luthor, the Green Goblin, the Joker--these are some truly BAD guys. Our son Kimball thinks he has a nemesis, too, (although I don't know if you call it that if the nemesis is a duo). These two women are seemingly innocent-- in fact, I count them as one of the tender mercies of the Lord in my life! Bronwen also adores them, cheers when they arrive, and frequently mentions them in her nightly prayers. Who are these deceptively evil creatures? They are our housekeepers.
I have hesitated to write about this otherwise compelling subject because if you have preconceived notions about the kind of people who have housekeepers, we probably wouldn't fit that bill--but if you only know me virtually, you would probably make some assumptions. And I have admitted before that I do care what you think, at least those of you who read often.
We are not wealthy (at least by American standards), and in fact make many sacrifices so that I can be at home with our children. We are blessed, however, to have housekeepers who are willing to trade services with my husband. And I will admit that it makes our life nicer. I could technically function as a homeschooling mother of nearly 5, but I wouldn't have a clean house. And Jared and I both agree that having order and a clean house makes a big difference in our life satisfaction, so it might just be worth it to us if this trade ever runs out. And our children still get plenty of opportunities to help with household cleaning and chores, as once a week is not enough to keep the house clean--it is just enough to stop it from getting away from us completely.
Anyway, now that I've issued my disclaimer, let's get back to the subject at hand: Kimball vs. Housekeepers. Months ago I noticed that he got a scowl on his face whenever their arrival was anticipated. He began complaining that they always put his things in the wrong place, that they remade his bed too tightly (as in perfectly), that they mixed up his and Henry's pillows. And don't get him started on how they move his Lego creations around in the playroom. Anytime he misplaces anything, anytime things aren't just where he expects them to be, he begins grumbling about "the housekeepers".
This always launches me into a little lecture about how lucky we are to have them come, how much I appreciate that they come, and how he is responsible for his own things. "If you put your things away before they come like you are supposed to, they won't move them around," I remind him. But it falls on deaf ears. No one will convince him that the housekeepers aren't out to get him. Each week they hatch another maniacal plot to bring agony into his young life.
In an attempt to teach them accountability and ease Kimball's Monday Anxiety, I have agreed with the boys that if they clean up the playroom and vacuum it before the Terrible Twosome arrive, I will instruct them to skip it. Some weeks that works, some weeks it doesn't. And yesterday when we came home to discover that Kimball's recently lost tooth had been thrown away, he was pretty sure that life as he knew it was coming to an end. (Never mind that I had advised him to stash it in his sock drawer, quite sure that they wouldn't recognize a lone molar swimming in a gallon-sized Ziploc--his doing--as a treasure we were keeping for the tooth fairy. He left it in the middle of his bed and they assumed it was garbage, since it looked deceptively like garbage.) Sigh.
At least he hasn't made any "it's them or me" ultimatums. I would hate to have to choose.