This is the part in the Little House books where the kids joyfully pick up their aprons or tools and join their parents in the business of maintaining the homestead.
At our house the scene is a little different. Thing 1 and Thin 2 have managed to stretch out breakfast at least 30 minutes longer than normal, somehow using telekinesis to restart the TV in the process. All this is to avoid the stack of twenty-first century chores awaiting them. The way I have to badger them to get wood stacked and room cleaned, you’d think I was violating child labor laws. But today, I’m willing to risk it.
For me, it’s pantry-cleaning day. My annual attempt at organization just before the flurry of fall company and winter snows make a chaotic larder not just inconvenient but dangerous. During our desperate days my well-packed pantry was security, but (with the exception of last winter) having stocked shelves can literally be a life saver in a Vermont winter when roads are treacherous or even blocked.
I usually enjoy this job for all it foretells – holiday dinners, hot chocolate and popcorn on snowy days – but something primal (or spiteful, your call) in me does not cotton well to the sounds of sloth in the background. So I badger and they move – slowly – and I hope that one of my pantry excavations will yield a jar of Dr. Pioneer’s Elbow Grease for kids.