Me: Adam, this afternoon while I'm at work, I'd like you to wash a batch of dark clothes. You have to put the soap in first, let it dissolve for a minute in the warm water, then put in the clothes and switch the temperature back to cold. Please repeat back to me what I just said.
Adam: Put the clothes in the washer. Switch it to cold.
Me: What did I say before that?
Adam: You're going to work this afternoon.
Me: Let's try this again. Start the washer on warm. What did I just say?
Adam: Start the washer on warm.
Me: Do you know how to do that?
Adam: Um...use the knobby things?
Me: Good. Add soap. What did I just say?
Adam: Add soap.
Me: When there are about three inches of warm water in the washer, add the clothes and switch it to cold with the knobby things. What did I say?
Adam: When there are about three inches of warm water in the washer, add the clothes and switch it to cold with the knobby things.
Me: And when are you supposed to do this?
Adam: While you're at work. But I think I'll do it right now.
Moments later Adam and I hear some horrible banging noises coming from the washer.
Adam: That's bad, isn't it?
Me: Yeah. I think so.
I go to the washer and lift the lid. The equivalent of three batches of laundry has been stuffed into the washer drum.
Me: Adam, I think you put in too many clothes.
Adam: There's a limit?
Me: Yes. Apparently, if you overstuff the washer, it makes scary banging noises and could possibly break.
Adam: I'm sorry. I don't want to break the washer. It just seemed silly to do lots of batches if we could wash everything in one load.
Me: Good logic, bad spatial awareness.
Adam: Yeah. It was pretty tough getting everything to fit inside.
Me: Unload about two-thirds of what's in there into the sink, please. You'll have to wash them later. What did I say?
Adam: Unload about two-thirds of what's in there into the sink. But they're all wet and soapy and weird. I don't want to touch them.
Me: Sorry. That's what needs to happen next.
Adam: You're not going to do this for me, are you.
Adam: You're making me do this so I won't overload the washer again, aren't you.
Me: Good call, Adam. Is it going to work?
Adam: I think so.
Me: Good to hear. Thanks for your help.
Adam: Hey Mom--just so you know, I've been reading some of your parenting books so I'll know how you're going to manipulate me.
Adam: Yeah. Except--they kind of work, don't they?
Adam: Huh. Will you tell me the times when they don't work?
Me: Probably not.
Adam: I didn't think so.