Playtime’s Over, Junior

Most people think technology makes our lives better, and that living back in the days without electricity would have sucked. I tend to agree. But there were some things about those days that might have been pretty cool.

Especially the child labor stuff.

It’s easy for me to say this now, as an adult. And it’s even easier to say it as a parent.

Back in the day, half the reason you had kids was for the extra hands, the workforce. Suddenly someone else was around to milk the cows and all that shit. Sounds pretty good to me!

Of course, I’m no farmer. And it’s not quite as easy to teach my son to do my job – which is far too complicated to even explain it to you – as it is to teach him to do straightforward physical labor (of which we don’t have a ton around here). So while it’s unrealistic of me to think that I can send my son to my office to pump out the latest TPS reports on my behalf – so I can catch up on my Zzzs or do some day-drinking – it may be possible to train my kid to do some stuff around the house and lighten my load so I can relax when I get home.

At least, according to Slate.com.

The Slate article is about training a child to help out in the kitchen, which, as the article acknowledges at length, is pretty dangerous. But even even were my son skilled enough with a knife to chop up some veggies without chopping up himself, or aware enough of how much fire hurts to sauté some onions without melting his hands, it’s IMPOSSIBLE to believe that his presence around all that food wouldn’t result in tons of extra clean-up. My son can’t even eat a cracker without smearing it all over his face, shedding crumbs all over the floor and somehow getting pieces stuck on the TV screen.

If he’s cooking my dinner I’m gonna be less worried about him losing a finger than about adding time to our bath and laundry routines.

So the kitchen is out. Again, I’m no farmer, and you can see by the image above that my son didn’t really enjoy his day in the coal mines. Plus I rent in the city, so it’s not like I need someone to rake the yard…but I’m 100% on board with the idea of training my son to help out around the house, so I know there’s some stuff he can do. Soon he’ll be able to mix me a drink, Sally Draper style, and once he can write well enough to forge my signature and handle some bills, having a kid is going to reap major rewards.

But until then, we can at least take advantage of his existence by teaching him to help with some rudimentary tasks. Ya know, stuff a dog can do.

So over the next few months, on top of teaching him the alphabet and counting and speaking English, I’ll be training him to fetch me things. My robe. The paper. A beer. The remote control. And I bet he can shine my shoes too. That way I can yell at him to go get his shinebox and when I finally show him Goodfellas we can all have a good laugh.

Since we’re keeping him out of the kitchen, it’ll be years before he can grab a knife and get his revenge.


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