Tuesday, March 29, 2011


 On Mondays there tends to be a large amount of laundry to fold.  There is often loads and loads of laundry that goes through the washing and drying process on Saturday but just never gets folded until Monday. Yesterday while we set to work on 5 baskets of laundry to fold. I couldn't help but see that my children's personalities come through in the way that they attack this chore.

Right after breakfast I pulled out all the baskets and started to sort it into piles. Each the kids does their own clothes as well as extras that I throw into their piles, like towels, sheets, Molly's clothes and such.

The moment Ian saw that I was sorting the clothes, without me even saying anything, he came over to his pile and started folding. He isn't the best folder. Sometimes his clothes look more mashed then folded. I usually remind him to take his time and do the job well. He redoes the clothes that I tell him need a little more effort. He puts everything mish mash together in one pile. So pants, shirts, under ware, socks and such all end up in the pile according to the order that they were folded. He  then takes them to his room and stuffs them on his shelf. It does end up a bit of a mess and his shirts and pants aren't put on the proper shelves but they are put away and his is done. I do often have to remind him to put the towels and sheets that he has folded away but for the most part he doesn't need me to ride him too hard to do the job. I am hoping one day he will fold a bit neater and get the clothes on the right shelves but for now he is doing a pretty good job.

Sophie usually waits until I am totally done sorting the baskets into piles. When I start folding my clothes she figures it is time to come and fold hers. So we sit and fold clothes together talking about this or that. She folds her clothes pretty much as I have taught her. They aren't quite as exact as I usually fold mine but she has her little stacks of shirts, pants and things all separate that are ready to take to her room. But she usually gets distracted a few times in the process of creating those piles and ends up with a book sitting next to her that she is thumbing through as she forgets she was folding.  I have to bring her back to the task to finish folding and then also remind her to take her piles to her room. She takes one trip and gets distracted and leaves a few other piles waiting to be removed to their proper places. Eventually, with several reminders, the job is done and all her socks and shirts have made their way back to her shelves.

Henry is told to fold clothes when the piles are ready and he will quickly tell me that he hasn't had enough to eat or that he needs to run to the bathroom. So he runs off to do whatever it is he has decided to use to stall the inevitable. Usually he doesn't surface again until most of the others have already folded their things and have them put away. I remind him again that his clothes are waiting. He throws a tantrum and complains that his pile is too big or that the others aren't folding clothes.  I go through the ritual of telling him that he has a lot of clothes because he puts a lot of items in the laundry. He changes his clothes a lot during the day for different reasons so often his pile is bigger than the others.  He tells me how unfair it is and tries the "I'm too little to do this" tactic. He has been folding clothes for years so this doesn't work but he always tries it. He continues to complain and cry while he slowly folds a few pieces in his pile. He is actually the most accurate folder of all the kids. His piles are the neatest and he actually matches his socks while the others tend to just dump them all in their sock drawer to be matched up as needed.

Ian is usually done the quickest, 10 minutes tops but his clothes aren't very precise. Sophie would be fast except for the distractions and her clothes are done satisfactorily . Henry takes forever, 2 hours to finish his pile yesterday. He also lost previleges because of his stalling and tantrums but I know he will do the same thing next time when asked to do anything. He does end up with nice crisply folded clothes but it is a lot of work to get it done.

I don't know exactly how to help Ian fold his clothes more neatly. I remind him and have him redo them but he still rushes. I don't know how to keep Sophie focused on her task. She is so easily distracted by anything around her. Henry, I hope, just needs to grow up and get past the tantrums. We have been saying it is just a stage for years now. We keep waiting for this stage to pass but it seems to have gotten worse.

These descriptions pretty much sketch out each of these children's approach to life and any task put in front of them. Ian gets the job done but isn't interested in the details. Sophie does a good job but just can't keep her head in the game to finish without someone to bring her back. Henry just fights everything. But when he is forced to do the task it is done well. It is rather daunting to think I have to figure out how to encourage each of these children to work when each has such different methods. Each has difficulties to overcome and each has a different strength to promote.

It will be interesting to see what Molly's style will be.

1 comment:

Bibliophile said...

Very perceptive of you! I enjoyed this look into the children's personalities.