Janet Christie: I’d rather just save myself the grief

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THE dishwasher is broken, and it’s behind the Hoover, boiler, roof and my belly in the fixing or replacing list.

No one ever reached into its festering depths to load or unload it except me anyway, so I’ve rediscovered washing-up. It’s faster and I get to watch squirrels avoiding the neighbours’ squirrel trap as I scrub.

But Eldest Child has an idea. “We need a washing-up rota.”

Youngest Child silently slides off her chair and vanishes.

“No. It’ll be just another thing for me to nag and get annoyed about,” I say.

“We should all take turns,” says Eldest.

“No. I’d rather just do them myself.”

“They’re mostly our dishes. We should do them.”

“But you won’t, and then I’ll have shout and do them anyway. I’d rather just save myself the grief and do them in the first place.”

“No. You have to make us do them.”

“Don’t want to.” Why introduce an additional twist of the (dirty) knife?

“Well, we’re having a rota. I’ll do Mondays and Wednesdays, Middle Child will do Tuesdays and Thursdays. And you’ll do weekends. And everyone has to stick to it.”

Middle Child and I glare at his retreating back.

“We’ll never stick to it,” says Middle.

“I know,” I say.

“Anyway, it’s your day. Bye.”

I turn back to the dishes. But now I’m annoyed. Resentful. And I’m not doing the pans.