Thursday, March 25, 2010

Happy Helpers

I've read the parenting books and heard the experts encourage child participation in household chores and activities. In my heart I know this is a good idea, but my inner "Monica" (as a reference to the beloved neat-freak on Friends) is still warming up to the idea. Last night I let the boys "help" me put dishes in the dishwasher. I was busy packaging up food and not fully monitoring my helpers. After a few minutes, I heard Connor proclaim, "Good thing we're wearing swimsuits." My inner voice uttered, "Just remember they're helping." I tried to plaster a grin on my face as I examined the damage. It was just how I imagined, water blanketed the sinks, walls and counters. I'm still not sure how they practically flooded the kitchen and still managed to place food encrusted plates and utensils in the dishwasher.

I decided not to let yesterday's washout deter me from encouraging the boys to help out more around the house. Today the boys "assisted" me in packing for Spring Break. I gathered the boys and requested their assistance in the packing process. They were thrilled. Cooper sprinted to his dresser and dumped a mismatch of clothes on the floor. I'm not even sure if there was a pair of shorts or underwear in the pile. I could see him thinking, "That should do it." He then grabbed his backpack and proceeded on to (in his mind) the most important part of packing: the toys. Cooper stuffed his backpack with a slew of toys. The pack's fabric looked like it was about to burst at the seams. Big brother Connor thought Cooper had a fabulous idea. He too loaded a backpack with as many random toys as he could find. At this point I could tell the packing was going nowhere and fast.

I've learned a lesson from the last two days. Children should be encouraged to help, but moms like me should be prepared for what help they will get.

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