Apparently, I give lousy punishments

but my house is cleaner than it was before.

One of my boys, whom I shall call The Perpetrator, was having issues with distraction Friday morning.  He found a multitude of excuses as to why he couldn’t do this school assignment or another.

I decided to make him suffer.

And I wanted to benefit from the situation somehow. 

So I made a list of chores that needed done and I was behind on:

Take Christmas decoration boxes to basement.  (Yeah, I know, it’s February).

Take down Christmas lights, card and tape over the family room windows.  Put in a Christmas box.  (I’ve been busy, okay?)

Thoroughly sweep the kitchen and dining room, taking care to get all corners and under furniture.  (It is a BIG room.)

Mop with old rags, on hands and knees, the entire kitchen and dining room.  (This last part was thrown in after reading a discussion among homeschool moms on a message board about how often they clean their floors.  I got paranoid.  Transferred paranoia to my wayward child.  By now, Sid is shaking his head in amusement over ” the ladies.”)

A half hour later, I was schooling the girls in the schoolroom, when I hear the sounds of relaxed conversation and laughter.  I assumed my other son, whom I shall call TenderHeart in this story, was distracting The Perpetrator.  Marching into the kitchen, I planned to pull TenderHeart into the schoolroom with the girls and me.  

What I found instead were two boys, on their knees, happily scrubbing away at the floor.

And appearing to enjoy themselves.

“Ahem,” I say.  “TenderHeart, WHAT are you doing?”

“I am helping The Perpetrator clean the floor.”

“I don’t think you understand,” I say.  “This is supposed to be a PUNISHMENT.  Punishments are not enjoyable, but is SOUNDS like you guys are having fun.”

“Actually,” says The Perpetrator, ” this is kind of fun.”

Hmmmmm, I think to myself, I wonder if he realizes that he still has do his morning school AFTER he finishes the chores.  I’m betting he won’t think the punishment is fun then.

Walking away, I heard The Perpetrator happily whistling.

An amazingly short time later, The Perp reports to me that his chore list is done.  I inspected to find superior work.  “I swept the whole room a second time after we mopped, because it stirred up more dirt from the cracks in the wood floor,” he tells me.  Is this a sign of the diligence I have longed to see in him?

Then The Perp heads off to the schoolroom, without any reminders from me, and pleasantly finishes up his schoolwork.

And I am left with a much cleaner house and a confused brain.  Do I just not understand punishment or perhaps it is the workings of the male brain that befuddles me?  And if he really is becoming diligent, how else will I get my house clean?

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