Those of you who have experienced the trials and tribulations (and the joys too) of parenting a two year old are familiar with the phrase, “I will do it myself.” Young children say this a lot and it’s a sign that your child is developing properly. But I’m also finding that some days I also want to yell, “I’ll do it myself.”
Shorty likes to help me do things around the house. He’s right there when I need to do the laundry, vacuum, dust, empty the dishwasher, or make coffee. Most days I try to encourage his helpful nature. Sometimes, however, his help is more of a hindrance. For example, when doing laundry we have a routine in which I put all the big items in the washer and Shorty puts the little things in. I’ve mentioned several times before how OBSESSED Shorty is with the washing machine, well here’s the thing, after every little item he puts in he then wants to manually spin the drum in the washer. So, instead of us just putting clothes in, adding detergent and fabric softener and turning the darn machine on; loading the washing machine goes something like this:
Shorty adds one little item and then leans half his body into the machine and starts spinning the drum. I have to remind him repeatedly that we have more laundry to put in the machine. He extricates himself from the washer and bends to get one more little item, meanwhile I attempt to get as many big items into the washing machine before he tries the spinning routine again. He puts one little item in and the spinning with half his torso in the machine begins again. I remind him there’s more laundry, he exits, etc., etc., etc. Finally after what seems like an eternity we have all the dirty clothes in the machine and can then close the door, but not before he makes one last attempt at spinning. Then I put in the detergent and fabric softener. Before I can close the detergent drawer I must lift Shorty so he can see the liquid. (Ever heard the old saying “Curiosity killed the cat”? Well, if he were a cat Shorty would be dead by now.) Then Shorty hits the power and start buttons. We then must stand in front of the machine and watch it spin for several minutes. Then, and only then, can we move on to something else.
Last week he “helped” me make my coffee. First he “helped” me put the water in the pot. This includes standing on his tiptoes to help me hold the pot up to the filtered water dispenser on the fridge. It also involves him trying to touch the water at least once with his chubby little fingers. It often results in water spilled on the floor. Then he drags his stool to the counter so he can watch me pour the water into the coffee maker. Next he gets the coffee from the pantry and helps me count how many spoonfuls I need. Again I have to lift him so he can see the water and the grounds before he closes the lid on the coffee maker and presses the button to turn it on.
Last week he managed to spill coffee grounds on the kitchen floor three days in a row. The first time was totally accidental, the second was experimental, and the third totally deliberate. So, after three days of vacuuming coffee grounds from the floor I have relieved him of his duty of putting the bag of coffee back in the pantry.
If I had a dollar for every minute of extra work his “help” has added to my day I would be a wealthy woman. Leading me to believe that this phase of “I can do it myself” applies not only to him but to me as well.