So, the other night, the boys had a friend spend the night. They had pizza, watched movies, played video games, you know, the whole teenage boy shebang. After they got done eating, the friend brought his plate to me to ask what he should do with it. I tols him to just put it in the sink and I would take care of it later when I loaded the dishwasher. He informed me that he had already washed it. This took me completely by surprise and it really annoyed me. Now, I know that I should have been grateful that the boy had such good manners, but I really do not consider it good manners, and I'll tell you why.
First, when you are a guest in someone's home, especially a first time guest, you don't know what the rules and routines are and you shouldn't assume that you do. Now, in his home, it may have been the rule that you wash your own plate, but it is not here. Good manners dictate that you ask what the procedures are before you act.
Second, both of my boys had put their plates in the sink (as had Oliver and I), as per the routine of our house. I found it to be quite presumptuous and a little up-staging-ish for this boy to wash his plate when he could clearly see that the rest of us had put our plates in the sink. I might not have thought that if he hadn't also done similar things throughout the evening. Like when the boys burst out of the house and bellowed that they were going off to a bike ride to the jumps and the friend turned to me and said, "I guess the plan is that we're going on a bike ride, is that okay with you?" This was after I had already bellowed "Whatever, dude!" back to the boys (which is code in our house for, "Sure, that's great, don't kill yourselves because I don't have time for the drama!"). I just found it a little irksome.
Third, I now have this compulsion to make the boys wash their own dishes whenever they are at someone else's house. I hate that this has me second guessing myself, even if it is just a tweeny-tiny bit. Now, this is totally my problem and I own it, but it still pisses me off a bit. I normally have great confidence in my children's social graces. Most of the time, I feel quite at ease sending them off to a friend's house because we have made manners and niceties a priority so that they do not offend people. But now there is a little eensy part of me that thinks maybe I haven't been quite diligent enough. Should they be washing their own dishes at other people's houses???
Yes. This is when the crazy starts to come out. You'll have to excuse me now, I have to go shove it back in.