today i had a “gingerbread” cookie decorating party at work. three of my regulars showed up and (as frequently happens) let me know that they were on the waiting list, but could they come anyway? was there room? the cookie party is one of those oddly high-demand programs that fills up within an hour of registration opening and has people calling all over town to find out which branch has openings. but… day of the party arrives and a few people don’t show up and i’m pretty flexible about letting people in if they show up. so, i said they could come in and decorate a cookie. (turns out we had a few extra cookies anyway and i ended up inviting in a few random library patrons with kids)
what i love about this particular family of regulars is that they always stay afterwards and beg to help clean up. and i mean clean. not just stay a few minutes later than everyone else and then help put the markers in their container, but they help to pick up the chairs, move the tables back against the wall and then they all fight over who gets to “hoover” the carpet. i love it! as we reached the end of the cleaning process, the daughter asked if there was anything else she could do and i said, ‘well, the spoons need to be washed..’ and she said, “cool! i love to wash dishes!” their mom was there but she wasn’t even having to push them to offer to help. wow! then, the mom said, “oh, she’ll be thrilled to wash the dishes. she always wants to do it at home and i won’t let her because i’m afraid she’ll break something.” which foiled my theory that maybe mom just always had them help out at home and so they were used to it. how do you get kids to turn out like that? or is it the “it’s-more-fun-to-clean-when-it’s-not-your-house” phenomenon at work here? all i know is that i was very grateful for their assistance and the room was spotless and the supplies all packed up much more quickly than they would have been had i had to it all by myself. hooray for helpers!