I had to take Ben to town to pick up his tux for the prom. Before we left, I gave each of the girls a chore to do. I've learned from years of experience that I have to do it this way:
"Katie, I want you to clean off the dining room table while I'm out. Emily, I want you to clean the kitchen counters."
"Yes, ma'am," they chorus back at me.
Then I look each of them in the eye, "Katie, what did I tell you to do while I'm gone?"
"You told me to clean the dining room table."
"Emily, what did I tell you to do while I'm gone?"
"You told me to clean up the kitchen counters."
"Right. Don't either of you tell me that you didn't hear me say it."
I took Ben to pick up his tux. We waited in line with a bunch of very pierced teenagers and my heart swelled with pride that my son remains un-punctured. It's apparently a rarity. Ben told me he'd never felt so conspicuous in his life. Which is kind of funny because you know most of those guys get the piercings so they will be noticed and stared at. But it's the kid with no extra bling who stands out these days.
When we got back home, neither the table nor the kitchen was cleaned. Katie was on the computer and Emily was reading the Kindle. I barked, they jumped, and everything was cleaned lickety-split.
Around bedtime I was looking for my Kindle so I went to retrieve it from Emily. "Where's my Kindle? I want to read for a little while." She looked at me with an expression of exaggerated horror.
"But I'M reading it!"
"You had it the entire time I was out, and apparently wasted all your time I'm on it already."
"I didn't waste ALL my time on the Kindle! I wasted time doing a lot of other things too!"