Yesterday I was running out of time for my grocery shopping trip, and I thought that I’d just go to ShopRite because it is closer to me than my regular big supermarkets. This was a stupid, stupid idea.Which I realized about five minutes into the excursion. I’ve been there so rarely that I spent way too much time wandering around. I walked around not finding essential items while discovering all sorts of things that I didn’t know that I needed until I stumbled across them in my confusion. Until I was freaking out in the checkout line, because the girls were due home from school any minute. Which, okay, is not so awful, since I have delightful neighbors who are willing to be on call in case of emergency. But I just don’t want them to arrive home without me.
So I called. Not home yet. And I finished checking out and called again from the red light, minutes from home. M answered. Yes, they were home; yes, they were fine.
Moments later I walked in with the bags and the girls were sitting at the dining room table eating a snack while M read J a story. This is one of my very favorite things that my children can possibly do. I just said hi and kept unloading groceries because I didn’t want to interrupt their story. But then I noticed something strange. Strange and wonderful.
First, the lunch boxes and water bottles were on the kitchen counter. Where I always ask the girls to put them, and where they only land maybe 20% of the time, and that only after nagging. Then I realized that the entire floor was clear–the spots that usually hold discarded shoes, socks, backpacks, and papers was just as immaculate as they had been 90 minutes ago. Upon further inspection, I realized that jackets and bags were hanging in the closet, shoes were placed in a row, and the entire closet had been tidied.
Oh, the joy. There was much positive reinforcement for the girls. M explained that I’d sounded a little harassed, so she’d suggested to J that they take it upon themselves to cheer me up. It so worked.
After the girls’ bedtime last night, I went to fold some laundry, and I discovered that M had already folded it. Holy cow. I said before that she’s been helpful lately, but yesterday was unprecedented. And J is following her lead. Apparently they both enjoy gushing praise. And I am happy to deliver.