...that work can be play.
I've never liked to have Jonah (or any small child) helping with the dishes. Of all things, that drives me nuts. I try to always give Jonah opportunity to help and I like for it to be fun for him so that he can be learning that work is not horrible drudgery. But the dishes? Dishes are for me. I have a system. It's a somewhat meditative job that I don't like to have broken by a sloshy mess and bumping elbows and stolen dishrags. I just want to get the job done.
I have a bad habit of missing the forest for the trees. What's more important in my day? My getting my work done, or my teaching my child how to work cheerfully?
Since we got a dishwasher, however, the dish load is not the only thing lightened. It's also made it far easier for me do dishes with Jonah. It's become a morning routine for us to unload and begin reloading the dishwasher together while listening to Alexander Scourby's Bible reading on tape.
When there are extra dishes that need washing, there are usually not very many, so I don't feel the pressure to "just get it done." I can wash the more difficult things and then let Jonah wash a few things while I work on something else nearby. That way we don't have to be doing the same thing at the same time, but I can still supervise and he gets to have a little fun in the dishwater. Yeah, the dishes don't necessarily get totally clean or rinsed, but it's more about the process than the result.
While having a 5 year-old do dishes can be a little aggravating, I have to admit that it would never occur to me to make the suds shoot out of a funnel like a volcano. I'm so much about "getting the job done" that I would have slopped that thing through the sink, rinsed it, and tossed it up to dry without even seeing the hilarious potential.