19 February 2010

My Little Helper

My little helper, aka, my precious 17-month-old daughter, sure does get the best of me!
She loves to help. Most of the time. If she's in a jolly mood (which, quite frankly, is almost all of the time, seriously), she understands the command, "Put it away." So, when it comes time to scamper off to bed and we utter the inevitable command, blocks are put in their box, books are put on the shelf and most of this is done, with a little help, by tiny little hands.
She has also begun to understand that, applicable not only to play things, "Put it away" simply means put whatever object is currently in your hand in the location from whence it came, or should go (in the case of trash which she miraculously picked up on her own - what a marvel this little angel is). Honestly, we feel like geniuses as she completes her task with robotic accuracy (again, depending on the mood - because I doubt robots choose simply not to follow orders on a given day because he's tired or really likes the pen he's holding and knows he shouldn't be).
Until today.
Today she got me at my own game.
While folding laundry, I carefully prepared stacks of like items next to me on the couch, Little One in my lap as we watched a movie on Hulu. When finished the ubiquitous remainder socks were tossed back in the basket. Little Helper that she is, she wriggled out of my lap, feigning interest in some far away toy, only to return moments later to attempt to help me in my task of folding clothes. Dutifully she pulled one, two, three socks out of the basket and handed them to me. Politely I thanked her but asked her to put them away. Back in the basket they went. My attention was turned back to the cinematic masterpiece of Hulu, but moments later when I checked on my quiet daughter, I noticed three stacks of freshly folded clothes dumped nicely back into the basket. She was "putting them away." Fortunately, they were mostly still assembled, so as I began to straighten the disheveled stacks, I hurried to tell her "No" as she was headed mechanically to her fourth and largest stack of t-shirts.
"Wait, what? These clothes don't belong in the basket? My mistake," were all the thoughts that traveled through her puzzled eyes.
Well, if out of the basket they should be, out of the basket they shall go. And one by one, the mostly still folded shirts became mostly unfolded as she attempted to fix her error. It is at this point that a mother is torn.
She was being so good following commands, but so not doing anything that made my life easier. And while I tried to thank her whilst firmly attempting to get my point across that I would just like her paws off my clothes she began to wander aimlessly - a puppy without a stick. What to do now?! No clothes in the basket, no clothes out of the basket? What has life come to?!
All was resolved later as she was allowed to help put the clothes away - "Take them to Daddy!". And boy can that girl run to get clothes when she has a job to do!
I did have to ask my husband at this point why we have been wasting all of this worker-bee energy on mere toys. It's time to teach her to empty the dishwasher, I say!


  1. Yes you really got to love it when the little ones try to help. I have found that while they are very young it is just nice to let them help as much as they can. Showing them how it is done and watch them try the best they can, then afterwards their OCD mom (that would be me) can redo it all when they are busy doing something else and not paying attention. Now that my oldest is 5 I can no longer do it this way as she will notice me fixing it and I have learned to live with things being done her way. Honestly it is just nice having her help now because she so rarely wants to anymore.
    Go ahead and teach your daughter these tasks now and doing them will become second nature to her in no time, which means more help for you.
    Thank you for a delightful little story from your daily life.

  2. That is so sweet. I wish I could get my own 'little helper' border collie puppy to learn 'put it away'!!

  3. I love watching how their little minds work!!! Such precious memories you now have in black-and-white to share with her. . .:)

  4. Hey Angela! Just discovered your blog! hope you don't mind if I follow along! How far along are you in your pregnancy? I'm not on Facebook as much as I used to be so I'm all out of the loop!

  5. Yay, Laurie! I'm glad you found me! I'm 23-ish weeks along with our little boy. We're pretty excited/nervous :)