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Not playing is hard work

From somewhere in the house, a voice cuts the quiet with a serrated edge…

“Mommy! Where are you? Mooooommeeeeeee!”

Don’t find me Don’t find me Don’t find me.


Sigh. “I’m in the kitchen, honey.”

“Mommy. I want to play!”

Ugh. I really really don’t want to play. “I’m washing the dishes, baby.”

“Mommy! Come on! Pleeeeee e e ease.”

“How bout I set you up at the table and you can draw?”

A brief pause for consideration, followed by a fetching tilt of the head. “Will you draw with me?”

Sigh. “Maybe later. I’m washing the dishes right now.”

“But I wanna battle dragons and Skylanderrrs right nowww.”

I hate battling. Hate it. Hate it. “Why don’t you go play with your brothers in the basement?”

“They don’t want to play.”

Well, no duh. “You have to wait, honey. I’m busy. (Warning: Combination bribery and poor parenting ahead.) Hey, how bout I put on a show for you? Maybe get you some goldfish crackers while you watch?”

“No!” Followed by a drop to the floor and pulling on my pant leg, “I want to playyyyyyyy.”

Come oooon. Go a wa a a ay. “Seriously dude, find your brothers. That’s why you have brothers, so I don’t have to play.” Quizzical look of the 6 year-old followed by quick repositioning of the mother. “I mean, you and your brothers are kids. Kids are supposed to play. Mommy has work to do.”

Smug, happy little boy bouncing up and down. “You don’t work.”

Internal sneering, eye-twitching, but voice stays reasonable. “These dishes aren’t gonna wash themselves.”

Big manipulative, adorable smile, “How bout you play now and do dishes later?”

Sideways, raised brow – what-do-you-think-you’re-a first-kid – look. “How bout you go find your brothers.”

“They don’t want to play.”

“They do. Go ask them.”

“They’re playing one-on-one basketball.”

“Then you need to go play by yourself. Do your legos.”

“Will you do them with me?”

Time to fight fire with fire. “Will you wash dishes with me?”


Whew. Finally, he’s going to play by himself.

Then he shrugs and starts dragging a chair over to the sink, smiling brightly. “Okay, and when we’re done we can battle dragons!”

I look left. I look right, but I am backed into a sink, I mean a corner.

Damn. I’ve been played.


Oh we're so doing this!

Oh, we’re so doing this!


About Ice Scream Mama

Mama to 3 boys, wife to Mr. Baseball and daughter of a sad man. I have a double scoop every day.

60 responses »

  1. Hahahaha! That kid is smart!

  2. Haha…
    Your son’s hair is AWESOME. Also, I loved that he said, ‘ You don’t work.’

    Don’t work? What the HEY?

  3. The outstanding wife

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! Love it. Relate to it. Don’t know how many times I have played the whole ‘but I gave you two brothers’ card!

  4. OMG…this was awesome! I remember those days so well…darned “fetching tilt” will get you every time.
    I hope you enjoyed battling the dragons as much as you enjoyed doing the dishes. I wish I would have been writing when my kiddos were young.
    Thank you for a smile to start my day 🙂

  5. HA! You’ve got a smart one on your hands — be careful! 😀

  6. hehe I was gonna say– my kid would absolutely have joined me! 🙂 she does laundry with me and everything. 🙂

  7. Ha! He got you there!

  8. lol!! They sooooooo know how to play us, don’t they?!


    lol luc is all over the “helpful” dishwashing

  10. Ha! Great dialogue. I can so relate to this post. I have a daughter who’s in my face with “will you play with me?” as soon as I wake.

  11. Ahahaha! Well played, kiddo, well played. This delivered the laugh I needed today.

  12. Sweet boy wants to play with his mama. I know it’s tiring to constantly be interrupted but my baby boy is 10 and I know from past experience I’ve got about 1.75 years before he won’t want anything to do with me. Why is motherhood such a wonderful, frustrating puzzle?

    • it is sweet and i do appreciate, but it’s also annoying sometimes. ha. i’ve got a 9 and 11 year old too, and thankfully they still want to play but not as.. desperately. 😉

  13. This is soooo funny. Even more so because I feel like you were describing daily conversations at my house. … topped with guilt of course. 🙂 I’m sure his “helping” made things go so very much faster!

  14. Sounds likes something out of the mouth of my child! She’s only three-and-a-half, so I’m not sure she knows when she’s being “clever”, though. 😉

  15. lol!!! so cute!! i love the hair and his hand gestures. =)

  16. I think kids are born with that gene that makes them so good at pushing us around. What a great story!! 🙂

  17. That is an adorable kid!
    I really started to miss those days with my kids and then I had grandchildren.
    They are so much smarter than I thought I was.

  18. Hah! You’ve got a smart kiddo, there! 🙂

  19. Ha! That kid should be a lawyer.

  20. I’ve known lots of kids that love playing in the sink (while I do dishes) but if they insist I play with them I like to pick what we play because I don’t like playing dragons either. The whole piece is so well-written and true to life.

  21. Ha, I adore my kids, but I can’t stand “playing”.

  22. Yeah, I’m not much for wanting to play either. And I do play often enough in my opinion, but my kid would beg to differ. He got you good though with the dishes!

  23. And the dishes probably took longer than they would have without the “help,” right? But major credit to your kid!! He’s awesome. He reminds me of my daughter. She keeps me on my toes. Exploits the loopholes…

  24. Hahaha what a little con artist.

  25. Ohhhh yeah. You *definitely* got played. I have the exact same battles with my 4yo little girl. She’s watching Diego right now so that I can read blogs, I mean, fold laundry. :-/

  26. Hahahaha! This is so true of kids that age. On the one hand, it’s so adorable and amazing that they just want to spend time with you no matter what. On the other hand, Oh. My. God. all the “help” with chores and playing are kind of overwhelming.

  27. Haha I love it! The internal responses really make the story.

  28. I’ve warned my wife repeatedly to be careful what she asks the 2 year old, because he’s very manipulative. Lol. Ask him if he wants his butt spanked sometimes and he’ll say yes…ya gotta follow through then dear, if you say you are gonna do it then do it! That lad’s foppish hair is delightful, btw. Love it.

  29. Pingback: Detaching is the hardest part!!! | Action Jackson and Marveled Mommy

  30. Pingback: Not playing is hard work - DAM Bloggers

  31. No, no, that’s a win for you. The kid is doing dishes.


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