Why is it always the obligation of the last child/born to do the dishes? Doing dishes is a nightmare for most people I know including me.
Why is it compulsory that the youngest child must do the dishes? This is one question I kept asking myself while growing up though at a point I came to a conclusion that the older ones are also scared of doing dishes as well.
Hmmm!!! Imagine having 7 siblings and after eating you as the youngest, is expected to wash up all dirty dish in the sink including mummy, daddy, uncles and aunties plates, just imagine the pile up; and you are expected to clean and tidy the kitchen as well.
I remember crying almost every afternoon when am being reminded that I have not done my after lunch dishes which is usually much because our daily lunch was usually eba and soup where each person used 2 plates – 1 for eba and the other plate for soup.
And that is the exact time my playmates are all outside playing either Tempe or suwe.
I also remember rushing my food when I heard the sound of my playmates voices; and all I wanted at that moment was to join them forgetting I had chores to do after eating; And oh! my Hitler elder sister always timed me as soon as she realized I was too engrossed in the fun, that’s when she would scream my name reminding me of the unwashed dishes and immediately my heart will skip, not only was she reminding me, she made the very loud announcement so my mum could hear. And immediately my mum got wind of my kitchen truancy she’d send for me asking me to go straight to the kitchen to tidy it up… oh! How I hated those particular moments in my life.
That very moment when you are engrossed in your tempe or suwe game and if anyone tries to stop you; you would hit the person if possible and your elder sister noticing how carried away you are in the game thinking that it is the best time to burst the bubbles and mum happens to overhear which is like the worst event that has killed your joy for that moment; and you find yourself rushing into the kitchen to realize you have so much to wash that your hands will shrink after washing them, immediately tears start pouring down your eyes as you think up an excuse to give; you can’t say you are not feeling too well as you’ve been playing outside. When all tactics used to avoid washing dishes at that particular moment is futile, you give up and just keep crying while washing the plates.
Oh! How I remember when I used Whitlow as my excuse for escaping washing dishes, it got to a point when I stopped going to my uncle who treated Whitlow, as I got to know the ingredients he used and how to mix them together. I became a Whitlow doctor by wrapping the necessary mixture on my hands and when everyone in the house saw my Whitlow infected fingers, my dish washing turn was delegated to someone else. During this period, I was always closely monitored by my siblings to see when I would falter but I was always very alert. So, if I was playing suwe, I formed hanging my infected hand to avoid hurting them. Whenever, I noticed the present of my parents, I’d start fanning pains and I’ll immediately start crying – with this trick, my dad would order bed rest for the next 2 days. This annoyed my siblings as they couldn’t do anything about it without any proof that my finger wasn’t hurting.
The irony of it all is that it would take you less than 20 minutes to wash up the dishes but at that moment you feel as if it’s going to take you forever to finish it.
Back then washing of dishes in my house was allocated to each child on weekly basis, then my mum noticed that my siblings were purposely using up all the plates in the kitchen. The weekly routine started depending on how many of my siblings were around, if there were 4 of us at home for a period, it meant no dish washing chores for me for 3 weeks, yippee!!! That’s until someone defaults and the routine will have to change to 1 person doing the dishes after breakfast, another for lunch and then dinner or 2 days intervals style. Those where the days you imagined a fairy god mother buying a dish washer in the house and hoping that one day when you close from school, you would see your imaginary dish washer in the kitchen waiting for you to load all dirty dishes into them.
At one point, I started bribing my cousins or siblings with either a piece of meat or half portion of my food just for him or her to take my dish washing turn. Then, sparing half of my meat got me the service of only the plates being washed and a full piece of my meat got me the washing of plates, pots and cleaning of the kitchen.
Oh! How I distaste that moment when you are almost done with the dishes and someone is coming towards you with a tray of dirty dishes and pots and all you can do is murmur or cry and then wish something bad happens to that person at that point in time.
I had an aunt who lived with us back in the days, all she knows how to do in the kitchen is to pile up plates and pots and when she sees someone washing plates in the kitchen that’s when she would notice plates and pots that were not properly washed. And whenever she cooks OMG! She used up all the pots, bowls and plates to cook – I never liked her and I always dreaded her coming to visit us.
Recently, I saw myself doing the same thing to my little cousin when I saw her expression I remembered my younger days. So, to put a little smile on her face and to avoid her wishing me all I had wished for my aunt back then; I help her with the dishes whenever I can.
I do have a dish washer at my house but I have never used it due to high electricity bill, since my hands have been doing the work all these while I guess I would stick to the good old days style.
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