They just really, really want to help, don't they?
This is a picture of my youngest two helping make Christmas cookies and treats with my Mom.
All the help is sweet, it really is, and someday I will miss it, the little hands trying to push the heavy vacuum cleaner and little feet splashing in the mud puddles they created while "helping" wash the car.
But the truth is, most of the time kids hardly ever actually help. Most of the time they are creating more messes and stirring up more trouble and it's your job as a Mama to encourage them along in this endeavor. We're not to squish their spirit, you see, or over-correct their attempts to be helpful. We must be very careful so that we don't break down all their confidence and fast forward 15 years to see them rocking back and forth on the psychiatrist's couch.
I have compiled a list of the top three times my girls have 'helped' around the house.
1.) This was what was going on in our home in August of 2005.
Precious bundle #2 had just arrived, and boy, was I ever a mess. Hormones skyrocketing and plummeting every few minutes, sleep deprived, stressed, and trying to learn to manage a 2-yr-old and a baby.
Lauren, my bundle of joy, had a bad habit of scratching her face with her teeny tiny little fingernails. Those things are like razors, people! For real! Why do infant fingernails have to be so dang sharp? They're like little Freddie Kreuegers and Edward Scissorhands! And those little mittens you can put on their hands? Useless. Unless you're willing to make them practically as tight as a tourniquet around the baby's wrist, they're a total waste of time because they just fall off the moment you put them on.
Poor little thing kept slashing and slicing her face, so I VERY carefully trimmed her minuscule nails on each hand. I would say it is somewhat like trying to place an eyelash thru a needle using salad tongs. Pretty much impossible to get perfectly trimmed nails on an infant.
Anyway, we made it and all was well. I left her lying on the floor in my room while I went in the bathroom to wash my face. In about 20 seconds I heard wailing and sounds of great distress.
I found my oldest child, age two, hovering over the baby, who was a bloody mess.
She was holding fingernail clippers.
Yep. In her desire to "help" Mommy, she retrieved the clippers I had just put away and got to work on those tiny fingers.
Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get infant fingers to stop bleeding? They just would NOT stop and no band-aids would stay on. I finally had to use some liquid band-aid and paint her tiny fingers with it.
Sheesh. It took 20 seconds of me not watching, people.
2.)Another quite memorable time my children 'helped' was the day they disappeared outside one summer day and decided things were just not clean enough for their liking.
They proceeded to open the garage doors, get the hose and pull it around to the side of the house, and spray down the entire garage.
Several problems with this:
a.) the floor in there is smooth concrete. It is a death trap because it's so slippery when wet.
b.) Daddy's tools, everything from his power saws to lawn equipment to the cabinets were totally drenched.
c.) the windows to the van were down.
It was not his father of the year moment when he discovered his little helpers. That's all I'll say.
3.) And the final SO helpful moment with my children:
The time I had, shall we say, a SLIGHT mishap involving the Odyssey and the garage. Hardly even noticeable, really. Just a flesh wound, that's all.
But honestly, WHY can't someone design a garage that has SOFT, cushioned sides instead of brick? It is just not working for me.
I was gonna tell my husband. Obviously. I was just waiting for the perfect moment. Timing is everything, you know, ladies.
The girls, in an effort to just relieve me of my burden of guilt and anxiety, took matters into their own (traitorous) hands.
Soon the story was blurted out and they were so proud of themselves for helping Mommy tell Daddy the secret. They were probably concerned I'd forget.
Thanks, girls. Whatever would we do without your help?