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Dearest darling children,

When I ask you to pop your plate in the dishwasher, I promise that is all I am asking.  I am not trying to start a world war. I’m genuinely asking you to pop your plate in the dishwasher because you’re old enough to understand that it’s helpful, that I am a busy person too, that we can share domestic responsibilities, and that this skill will enable you to transition into adult life without the need for a 24 hour butler. I’m not saying “pop your plate in the dishwasher, you uncommunicative, unthinking, moody teenager, and by the way, while I am at it, can you pick up the Everest-resembling mountain of dirty laundry from your bedroom floor, empty the overflowing heap of rubbish festering in the corner of said bedroom (which will fill up the wheelie bin outside), return the 45 half mouldy coffee cups to the kitchen – to the dishwasher even! -, finish writing your Christmas thank you letters, and perhaps apologise for slamming the door 3 weeks ago when I refused to let you stay at your friends house the night before your driving theory test.”  Just saying dishwasher, that’s all.

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