Side By Side

by Stefani on 15-July-2008

The Middle Man

Up to now, I haven’t done just a whole heck of a lot of dishes by hand around here.

Usually, Mr. Blue Yonder and I tag team the post dinner crunch. One of us does the kitchen clean up (read: scraping crusty goo off the chairs and wondering how it also ended up on the ceiling), and the other does the bathing (read: keeping them from flooding the bathroom or using every ounce of soap that we have to create a “Ball CAY no” of bubbles.)

Most often,  I’m on bath duty, so I don’t really know what goes on with the dishes, but every morning, the washer is full and waiting for unloading, so I’ve got a pretty good guess. 

Last week though, I came across Mrs. Meyer’s Basil Scented Dish Soap and could not help myself. I had to have it. Which meant, of course, that I was going to have to do the dishes, you know, to justify the soap sniffing. 

Oh it is SUCH a lovely smell!

What I didn’t count on, was the added bonus of my middle guy wanting, each night, to stand at my side on his stool and rinse while his brothers hit the showers. He WANTS to do the dishes!

See, it can be hard, in a rowdy house full of boys, to find quiet moments to spend all alone with your mama. This has become our time, just me and my Jamesie. 

We stand, side by side, and chat, listen to music on the radio, talk about our day and our plans for the next. We do the bump and put bubbles on each other’s noses, and I secretly wonder just how much longer he’ll need that stool to reach the sink comfortably, and also how much longer he’ll want to do the rinsing. 

Suddenly, dish duty has risen from the mundane to become something altogether wonderful. 

Lisa July 14, 2008 at 7:10 pm

I teach 1st grade and when asked what is your favorite activity to help at home, they usually say wash the dishes. I think that they like the time standing next to a parent both concentrating on the same task and sharing their days together.

Mary Smith July 14, 2008 at 8:55 pm

Stefani, what a lovely post! They say that with modern “conveniences” such as dishwashers, kids and parents do not have as many chances to bond with activities such as washing the dishes together. Good on you!

MadWomanMeg July 14, 2008 at 11:12 pm

Hm I never really thought of dishes as a good way to bond with my kids, but I can kind of see it working. Good for you for taking the time to smell…soap bubbles!

caroline July 15, 2008 at 3:30 am

That is darling! It’s my 12 year old boy’s job to rinse and load the dishwasher. And he DEFINITELY prefers rinsing the things that I have to hand-wash.

Have you tried Mrs. Meyer’s counter spray? All the sniffability, no work!

Valerie July 15, 2008 at 5:34 am

Okay, next I’ll need you to write posts on toilet-scrubbing, shower-cleaning, and floor-mopping so all of those tasks won’t seem so horrid and mundane anymore either. 🙂

Mandy July 15, 2008 at 5:54 am

This blog makes me melt every day. What a sweet boy. My oldest also loves to do the dishes. She is almost as tall as me and I can still remember when she was the only baby I had and she would sit on the edge of the sink and put her feet in when I rinsed the dishes. They grow up too fast dont they?

heather jane July 15, 2008 at 6:58 am

I *saw* that soap just recently, and I barely made it out of the store without it. But I had a new bottle of lemon grass at home, so I didn’t pick it up. If I had know that it might possibly make my daughter *want* to do the dishes…I never would have left it sitting there.

I meant to tell you on the hankie post how hard I laughed when my daughter’s kindergarten teacher was talking about trying to convince the kids not to go to “Boogie Town” all year. Don’t go there, she’d say. That’s a bad part of town, boogie town. You never want to be seen hanging around *there*.

Tammy Frisbee July 15, 2008 at 7:20 am

OMG! Enjoy every minute of it!! My oldest used to stand at the counter and grate cheese. I miss those days now that she moved out a couple of weeks ago to attend the university. Thank goodness I have seven more to follow!

Katie July 15, 2008 at 7:43 am

There is nothing I like better than seeing my munchkins workin’ in the kitchen…does my mommy heart good.

BTW….Just linked to you from my blog.

Jade July 15, 2008 at 8:43 am

Good way to cut down on the electric bill as well! 🙂

erin July 15, 2008 at 8:56 am

i know exactly what you mean. kate has taken to helping me cook – washing veggies, getting items out of the pantry. i love those quiet moment.

gonzomama July 15, 2008 at 8:58 am

tugging at my heart strings.

asnipofgoodness July 15, 2008 at 9:00 am

My husband and I usually use this time for us. Isn’t it great to find something you can do quietly together, with each child, just the two of you, just to kinda refresh and rebond. I love that!

YayaOrchid July 15, 2008 at 9:19 am

What a sweet picture! Your little ones are certainly good helpers.

I bought a ‘kit’ back during the Christmas holidays from that line of products. It had the dish soap, air freshener, and general cleaner in ‘gingerbread’. It smelled wonderful! I also got the ‘lemon verbena’ ironing spray.

melissa July 15, 2008 at 9:24 am

oh, I just love mrs. meyers products. I’ll have to check this new scent out.

Colleen July 15, 2008 at 9:35 am

I love your blog! I’ve been a reader for a while now and thought I should say hello. Your blogger friend Kristi is my sister-in-law and she introduced me to your blog. I thoroughly enjoy reading about your beautiful family! Please check out my family blog if you get a chance 🙂 Take care and God Bless!

Teresa July 15, 2008 at 10:09 am

That is a goosebump story. Only kids can take a boring job and make it altogether wonderful!

I do the dishes with both of my kids (one is still a baby). They often will sit on the counter, dangling their feet in the sink, thoroughly enjoying the suds on their toes!

Alissa July 15, 2008 at 11:02 am

Stephani! The date at the top of your post says July 16th! It is my son’s first birthday today (the 15th) and you had me doing a slightly panicked tired mama moment of thinking that perhaps I missed his birthday! Lol. The dishsoap sounds lovely. My James thinks doing dishes is great too.

Alissa July 15, 2008 at 11:04 am

Oops- sorry I think I spelled your name wrong in my comment above!

Lasso the Moon July 15, 2008 at 11:21 am

thanks for the tip! my 3-yr-old loves to vacuum. Be my guest!

misschris July 15, 2008 at 11:42 am

mmm. A new Mrs Meyers scent I’ll have to try. I just love that woman. And little kitchen helpers, too. What a sweet moment you have to look forward to, every day! xo

mountain mama July 15, 2008 at 1:02 pm

My girls WANT to do the dishes, too!! I remember it was such a chore when I had to do it as a kid, and I find it amazing that they want to do it. No dishwasher here, so they have to be done by hand anyway and I still have to supervise or else they don’t get rinsed or washed 100 percent, but I look forward to the day when they can do it on their own and I can be the one to relax a little!

Carolyn July 15, 2008 at 1:30 pm

Sounds like a fun scent–or clean anyway. I love basil so I’m sure I’d like it. Might make me want to spread the bubbles on some bread or pasta like pesto. 🙂

Ginger July 15, 2008 at 1:57 pm

I just found your blog via jade’s blog ( and love it! My fist baby girl is only 5 weeks old but I really look forward to all her stages and phases. I’m really interested in the green cleaning/bug bite stuff/etc. posts and will be adding you to my favorite blogs. Have a great week!

jenny July 15, 2008 at 6:21 pm

Gosh, your blog is just the best. I don’t often leave comments (have I ever?)… but I just want you to know that your writing just really strikes a chord with me. Especially the whole having sons thing. I just KNOW HOW YOU FEEL! I have these little pangs of emotion over how much I love my kids every time I read your wonderful posts. Thanks so much for taking the time out to make me feel that way 🙂 Gonna go hug some babies now.

elissa July 16, 2008 at 6:59 am

i love this picture. love it. the colors in those plates and that sweet, sandy haired little head. that sudsy filled sink. i think i can smell that dish soap. or maybe it is lemon joy that i smell and standing at the sink with my own mom. hmmm…. or palmolive and washing with my grandma while she dunked the clean dishes in just boiled water with her bare hands. thanks, stefani, i needed that today. you just brought me home.

Julie @ Letter9 July 16, 2008 at 8:46 am

Aw, Stefani. What a nice post. You always cheer me up when I need it most.

imlikable July 16, 2008 at 10:30 am

That’s not just a moment….that’s a lifelong memory. That’s the stuff our kids will remember. 🙂

Lynn July 16, 2008 at 1:38 pm

We quit using our dish washer years ago. I like the winding down time of after dinner clean up. We are making plans for a kitchen remodel. I am planning to NOT have a dishwasher. I didn’t like the loading and unloading. The noise it made was also an annoyance. Peaceful quiet of having it all washed. Yea. Then that favorite bowl and spoon is always clean and ready for my daughter’s cereal in the morning!

Julie Alvarez July 17, 2008 at 7:19 pm

My little angel started being eager to wash the dishes right now, and she isn’t three years old yet. How old is your boy?
Sounds sweet and special.

jennifer m ramos July 18, 2008 at 8:40 am

I bought the all-purpose basil cleanser recently. I do like the smell. I don’t think it smells like basil, though! All it takes is a little good-scented stuff to a person motivated, though!

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