Early one day recently I woke up, instantly remembering that I’d left the kitchen a mess the night before. Eventually, I sighed, dragged myself out of bed, and wandered out, prepared to deal with the accumulated dishes. I was stunned to walk into a pristine kitchen–no dirty dishes, clean counters, and no mess. Wow, someone did the dishes! I thought. It must have been Kurt. It was such a lovely and unexpected surprise. When my husband awoke later, I made it a point to thank him enthusiastically (because I was truly thankful and because I was hoping to reinforce the behavior.)
“Oh, yeah,” he mumbled, accepting my fervent thanks nonchalantly.
The next night the dishes were done again. “Wow! Thanks, guys! This is great.” I commented. “Did you do the dishes again, Kurt?”
“No, I did, “piped up my daughter.
“Thanks!”I said, “What a nice surprise to have someone else do them two nights in a row-and without me asking!”
“Yeah,” she said, offhandedly, “I did them last night, too.”
“What!?” I said, as my husband looked away. “I thought Dada did them.”
“No,” she said, “I did.” She paused, “I was kind of surprised you didn’t say anything.”
My disbelief grew. I looked over at my husband, sitting on the couch trying to look innocent, avoiding eye contact. “I thought Dada did them,” I repeated slowly. I looked at my daughter. “I even thanked him,” I said to her, “and he didn’t say anything to deny it!”
We both turned and stared at him. After a long silence, he finally looked up.
“Well, I didn’t actually say I did them,” he said sheepishly.
I’m still speechless.