Eleven-year-old Evan is our resident underage workaholic.
When he was four-years-old we had him in Montessori. During our first parent-teacher conference, Paul and I asked his teacher which play areas Evan was most drawn to...
Apparently he was spending his days cleaning the window, wiping down counters and tables, and using the playskool vacuum cleaner.
We pulled him out of Montessori. We figured, he could spend his day cleaning at a less expensive preschool.
This is also our child who started a business selling cold bottled water at our back gate which is on the 5th tee of a golf course. He made $400 one summer and bought himself an electric piano.
So, I should not have been surprised when he tackled me as soon as I came home from work the other day about - what else - a job.
Evan: Mom. I need a job.
Me: Okay. Like a job right now? Or what?
Evan: No - I need a regular job. Something I can do everyday to make money.
Me: You need money?
Evan: Well... yes. And... I need a job.
Me: Okay. Let me think okay?
Evan: And then what am I going to do this summer? I need a job for summer. Do people hire kids my age?
Me: Ah no.
Evan: What am I going to do?
Me: Evan? You need to first let me change. We'll talk about it later.
I go upstairs to my bedroom to change. One minute later, Evan appears.
Evan: So have you thought about it yet?
omg. Obviously we differ on what "later" means.
Me: Evan. Seriously. You need to wait until later. Not now. I'll tell you when I've thought about it.
Evan: Well, what about like laundry, or shoveling the driveway, or organizing the kitchen, or...
Me: Stop. No. Not now. I just got home. Give me some time.
Evan: Okaaayyy! Geezzz.
I know what is going to happen. He is like a dog that won't let go of his bone. He is going to be on me about this until I offer up something.
I come down the stairs. As soon as I walk into the kitchen again, Evan announces to his brothers:
Evan: Mom is going to find me a job to do.
I may end up paying him to sit in his room.
Later (my definition of later, not his), I talked to him more about it.
Me: So, do you care if the job is hard? Are the jobs you won't do? Or are you willing to do something that I really need help with?
Evan: No! I really want to do something that will help! I don't care if it is hard! (he is nodding up and down with excitement).
Me: Welllll.... the thing mom needs help with the most is laundry.
Evan: Okay! I can do that! Sure!
Me: Okay. So, let's look in the laundry room and talk about how you can help.
We walk in... and Evan begins to tell me everything he is going to do. He is like a tornado of energy.
Evan: So I can wash the clothes, and dry them, and fold them and organize them, but you are going to have to tell me how to wash them right and I'm not sure how to separate the clothes the way you like... like do you want whites, colors, towels, or jeans, separated, so if you could write it down for me that would be great...
Me: One thing at a time. Let's slllloooowwww down.
Me: No - I'm glad you are excited, but just let's take this one step at a time.
Evan: Okay. Sorry.
Me: So, let's just start with what's out here right now. We've got a pile here that is clean, but has to be folded and sorted. How does that sound?
Evan: Yeah. I can do that. But that's it? I can do more than that.
Me: Hmmm... well, why don't you take the dry clothes out of the dryer and fold and sort those, and then put the clothes that are in the wash into the dryer too.
Evan: Yeah. Okay! I can do that.
Evan: And then what do you want me to do? I can wash clothes too. I just need you to write down or type out the instructions and I'll do it. I can come home everyday and wash and dry and fold.
Me: Let's start with this. Make sure you keep track of how long it takes you.
Evan: Are you going to pay me by the load?
THAT sounds like a very bad idea. Can you imagine the energizer bunny being paid by the load? Holy.
Me: No. We'll figure out something. I promise I'll pay you well for a job well done.
SO... the very next day... I get home from work...
Evan: MOM! Let me show you what I did!
I guess I won't be changing my clothes...
Me: Great. Let's go.
He takes me down the stairs and shows me that he has done everything that I asked. And... done it well.
He organized the clothes, folded them, even paired up the socks - something I hate to do. He made a pile of unmatched socks. He sorted the remaining laundry and then reminded me again that I had not typed step-by-step instructions on how to wash clothes.
Me: Wow Evan. This is really great. This helps mom out tons! I really appreciate this.
I give him a big hug.
Me: So how much time did it take you?
He walks over to a digital timer sitting nearby.
Evan: Ahhh... 28 minutes and 30 seconds.
I should have seen the digital timer coming.