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Washing glasshouses, Victoria sponges and the minimum wage

Posted by Dawn Isaac on 16 Nov 2011 at 09:35 PM


Why is it that children's keenness to "help' is in direct and inverse proportion to their ability to be of any use whatsoever?

My three-year-old will regularly grab an apron and insists on "helping" me cook - an activity that involves him putting his fingers in the butter, flinging around flour and sneezing into the bowl (if I have ever offered you a slice of Victoria sponge, please try and blank out that last sentence from your memory).

Unfortunately, children seem to become useful at the exact minute they also learn about the existence of a minimum wage and only after they have memorised all useful segments of the UN Convention on the Right of the Child.

However, this weekend I managed to get the children out in the garden in an, almost, useful capacity. Yes, if you want to get the kids outside the magic ingredient is a big bowl of soapy water. It helped that it was sunny but we did manage nearly an hour of vaguely helpful plastic plant pot washing ready for pre-school gardening club, a not entirely necessary washing down of the playhouse and, most importantly of all, the cleaning of the greenhouse.

This latter job does involve kids and glass so the flour-happy three-year-old was distracted with rinsing his tea set whilst his older siblings helped me. I am not sure our methods are thorough enough to meet most people's glasshouse hygiene standards, but there is at least a lot more light coming in and, let's face facts, it looks a lot better than many rooms in the house. It was also fun for the kids because it involved water, bubbles and the occasional look of fear on my face.

Best of all, this child labour involved no greater bribery than an extra slice of Victoria sponge cake... Nice.



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