Monday, June 04, 2007

There's a bathtub in our living room

Lucas woke up in quite a snit this morning when he discovered that I had displaced his safari playland from the floor onto the armchair.

After we got over the initial whining and crying, bemoaning the loss of his playland, he asked, "Mommy can you help me build a new one?". "Sure," I replied, "just let me know what I need to build."

My assignment from my demanding client: Use a blanket to make a bathtub for the giraffe and his bucket of berries. Make steps so the giraffe (aka "Sharky") can get in and out.

Of course, my client was standing over me, watching my every move, with non-helpful criticisms including:

- That's not right.
- That's not the way it's supposed to be.
- The blanket is not supposed to be like that.
- You forgot to build in the steps. No, not like that.

When I gently probed to get some more constructive feedback, my difficult client would respond with:

- It's just not right. You need to fix it.
- I don't know how to do it. You just need to finish it so Sharky can eat. Sharky's getting hungry.

Lucas finally decided to become more involved and this was the result.

My client was faily happy with how it turned out. Of course, he still had some personal touches he wanted to add. He spent about ten more minutes adding more animals and other assorted gizmos to Sharky's bathtub.

I thought back to the times I've worked with contractors, giving them similar feedback, okay maybe a little more constructive than Lucas. But I remember using words like doo-dads and gizmos, or saying things like "you know, that thing that goes along the bottom of the wall" (baseboards) and "I don't know what it is about it, but it doesn't look right." Like mother like son I guess.

In case you're wondering, Sharky and his pals are still playing in the bathtub on our living room rug. Lucas made me promise that I wouldn't move them again until he gets home from school. So they're still there, eating and frolicking in the tub. At least it gives me yet another excuse not to vacuum the rug today.

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