Justification for Slave Labor

My miniature barista slave at work

The other day my husband suggested that our boys are more capable than we are giving them credit for. Translation: “Let’s put those little monkeys to work.” I have to admit that up until recently the thought of letting my boys do anything for themselves filled me with dread. I had tried several times to get them to do simple things in the kitchen, like pack their own lunches and make their own breakfasts; but they ended up making immense messes, which got them banned. Okay. Okay. I’m a bit controlling that way. I like my dishes unchipped, my counters wiped off, my jarred peanut butter free of any jelly traces. Frankly, they’re not quite up to those tasks….yet.

This morning though, when Joe woke me up at 6:15 a.m. on a day when I didn’t even have to chauffeur them to school, I started thinking. I was thinking about caffeine actually, but I was too tired (or maybe lazy) to go downstairs to make my own latte. Then it occurred to me. When hubby is around, he fetches me a latte. He started the trend himself and honestly refers to himself as my “Coffee Bitch.” So, I started thinking about what Steve said about my kids being capable of much more. Perhaps I have been holding them back. Lightbulb! I could teach Joe to be my mini-Coffee Bitch for those times when Steve isn’t around. Brilliant plan, I know. I’m disappointed I didn’t think of it earlier.

I hauled myself out of bed and headed down to the kitchen. I grabbed Joe, dragged him over to the espresso machine, and gave him step-by-step instructions while he completed the task of making my skinny vanilla latte. I told him we would continue the same tutorial over and over until he felt ready for the final exam. When he is ready to test out, he will be asked to make one latte without assistance. If all goes well, I will soon have a second barista to help out on those cold mornings when I’m exhausted and can’t get out of bed without a hot, espresso pick-me-up. I will also have given my 10 year old son a valuable life skill. If college doesn’t work out for him in eight years, he’ll be qualified to don a green apron and work at Starbucks. It’s a win-win situation. At least, that’s what I’m telling myself while I sip a yummy latte handcrafted by my little slave.

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