Just let ’em soak

Lately, I’ve been making a concerted effort to have the kids do the dishes instead of me. I’m working from a time-honored tradition: whoever doesn’t help prepare the meal helps clean up after it.

The other day, my youngest son found himself facing a large steel pot of rather nasty burnt spaghetti sauce.

“I think I’m just gonna let this one soak,” he said.

“Letting it soak doesn’t help anything,” I said. “It’s just a code.”


I smiled. “It means you’re going to leave it for someone else to clean.”

“No it doesn’t!”

“Yeah, it really does.”

“But Mom says it all the time!”

I raised my eyebrows at him.

He laughed nervously. “I’m so asking Mom about this!”

I crossed my arms, and he strode purposefully into the living room to repeat my claim. My wife laughed. “Yeah, that’s what it means.”

“But. . . but you say it all the. . .”

I’ll give him credit. He managed to stop himself before he finished the sentence.

“So does your father,” she said sternly.

He staggered back into the kitchen, eyes wide, mouth open, clearly caught between outrage and laughter. He put his hands on his hips in a spot-on (if unintentional) imitation of his mother. “I’m so letting this soak.”

“Sorry,” I said. “That code only works for adults.”

“No way! That means you guys can leave things to soak, and I’m stuck cleaning them!”

He catches on quick.

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