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).
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!