No matter how many times we scold and admonish, the play dishes keep ending up in the sandbox. And then when they get all gritty, it’s time to wash the dishes.
I had Montessori visions of teaching Bella the right way to put soapy water in one bin and clean water in another. We got a clean dish rag and a drying towel. Bella was game. She likes order and following directions (mostly, sometimes).
But Sophie has other ideas. She plops the dirty dishes into the rinse water. She pours soapy water into the rinse water. She grabs the clean, dried dishes and puts them back into the dirty water. Bella screams and slaps. Mama has to step in to referee. That’s why Bella isn’t in all of the pictures. She’s putting the clean dishes away in her room. A useful diversion.
Ben doesn’t play by the rules either. He splashes and splashes. Bella doesn’t like it. I catch him tossing the dishrag onto the grass. (Fortunately she didn’t see that.) He sticks his hand into the soapy water and starts to slurp it off. Mama runs for the sippy cup before he drinks too much dirty, soapy water.
Bella asked why they couldn’t wash them in the play kitchen sink. I pointed to the pools of water and asked if she wanted her carpet to be soaked.
Sophie dumped out the pan of soapy water, making a mud puddle under the back door step. Ben’s feet were black when I took him in to change his diaper. His shirt was soaked. So were the girls’ dresses. New outfits all around.
Eventually the dishes did get cleaned and put back into the play kitchen.
And they all had fun. Splashing in the sun. Three brown heads bent over two white washtubs.