Several weeks ago, I made the decision that it was high time I introduce Brynn to another important first…making cookies with Mommy. And not just any cookies; Daddy’s all time favorite Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies! I led my mini-apprentice into the pantry and began dolling out simple tasks. Please go put this flour on the table; now the sugar; bring the peanut butter over there; no eating the chocolate chips Little Miss…you get the picture. Once all of the ingredients were on the table (or dangling off the edge I should say), I measured and let her dump the contents into the bowl. Did she have her pudgy little paws on everything at all times? YES! Did she put the spatula and spoonful of peanut butter in her mouth more times than I could scold? Most definitely!! But did she have the greatest first cookie baking experience ever? Absolutely!!! She was in heaven working alongside mommy to make those delicious gooey wonders.
This got me to thinking about some of the other tasks I involve Brynn in, which of course spurred this blog post. I don’t know if this is appropriate parenting or just my own crazy hair-brained idea, but I include Brynn in most of my household tasks. Laundry, making my bed, dusting, setting the table, and emptying the dishwasher are a few of her favorites.
Why do I do this? I suppose I started it because Brynn became less than pleased every time Mommy was not sitting right with her, engaging in play, reading, puzzles, or whatever other activity she chose to occupy her time at that moment. By including Brynn in my daily household activities, I was able to stave off the tantrum that inevitably came each time I traded in my play pants for my productive pants. In a way, I feel that I’m teaching her the importance of balancing play and productivity. As we all know, Mommy’s cannot play all the time.
So what does this look like in our house?
Brynn is the designated “start button pusher” on both the washer/dryer and the dishwasher. Mommy is a maniac about drying Brynn’s clothes on a drying rack, rather than in the dryer, so she brings me the wet clothes (one at a time) to hang on the rack. She’ll bring me a shirt and say, “Oh, that’s a cute shirt!” Does half the clean laundry get dropped on the floor in the process? Yes! Does this take twice as long as if I were to simply do it myself? Or more!! But oh does that girl love to be a part of my world and that makes it worth it to me!!
When I make my bed, she waits patiently until it’s time to bring me the throw pillows. I swear I only put them on the bed each day to satisfy her thrill in bringing them to me. They’re practically her size and she can barely manage to lift them (by the button no less), but you should see the smile as she heaves them into my arms. I’ll try to keep that in mind when I’m resewing all of the buttons on that have mysteriously loosened over the last month.
I hope you’ve not thought this to be a post about how to teach a 2 year old to run a household. My intent in involving Brynn in my daily tasks began as a means to simply get those tasks done with as little pushback from her as possible. However, what I learned in the process is that little girls LOVE to be like Mommy. Brynn enjoys helping me. Even at 2, it gives her a sense of pride & purpose. When I ask her to do something and praise her for assisting, she beams with pride. I try never to dwell on any resulting messes or the amount of time taken to complete the task. After all, my goal is simply to welcome her into my world and give her a sense of worth in the process. She really is my big helper!