Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Joys of Chores

Cora and I have been reading my old copies of Laura Ingalls Wilder's "Little House" books and have been simultaneously creating memories, reliving my childhood ones, and challenging both of our ideas about what she is capable of.  In "Little House in the Big Woods" Laura is just 5 years old and already she is doing things that I wouldn't trust a modern teenager to do without complaining or messing up.  Both Laura and her sister, Mary, spend their days helping their Ma first and then having time to themselves, rather than engaging in uninterrupted playtime and/or TV time, like my oldest was doing.  Granted, she is only three and a half, but there is lots I have not thought she was capable of until I pushed her just a little.  Since we began reading the books, we finish breakfast, make sure the baby (who is quickly becoming NOT a baby) is not going to destroy anything or play in the dog or toilet water and the begin our chores.

So far, she can do the following chores with me.  I'm always near to help but she needs it less and less.
 - Unload the silverware and all of the stuff that goes in the low cabinets from the dishwasher.  She pushes up a small chair, pulls out the heavy silverware drawer, sorts and puts away all of them, then pushes in the heavy drawer.
- Help me bake or mix things, dumping all of the ingredients in one at a time while I measure.
- Fold all of the napkins and other square things when we do laundry.
- Sort the laundry by colors.  I told her to choose all of the red, orange, purple and pink things today.
- Load the washer.  She pushes her 'helper stool' (a heavy duty step stool) up to the side of the washer, opens the heavy lid and then climbs up and down, filling it with her sorted pile.  Often Judah empties out the basket 'for her' (really he just likes to empty the basket).  Then she puts in her scoop of soap, asks what setting to put it on, (she knows H is hot, W is warm and C is cold) then closes the lid, climbs on top and pushes the start button.  (It's kind of a new fancy washer with a push button start)
- Push the wet clothes into the dryer as I throw them over from the washer.
- Feed the dog her scoop of food.
- Chop softer veggies. Today I showed her all about sharp knives and stood next to her chopping as she attempted to cut up a slice of zucchini.  She did pretty well and not a single cut on her!
- Set the table and help clear, as long as plates don't have rolly things like leftover grapes.

And the best part of it, she asks to do these things!  She enjoys helping me!  If she is in a funk and whining and crying about toys or a disagreement with Judah, (they don't like to share) I say it's time for chores and everything changes!  She takes pride in her work and I am just amazed at her.  Not to mention it's a pretty sweet deal having company and help with the monotonous rhythm of chores and caring for a house and small children.  For you mamas with older children, just go ahead and say it.  It took me long enough!  I mean, I have given her things to do before, but I never realized how much she could do!  So glad to figure out just a bit more of this parenting stuff.

Thanks, Laura!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Blocks and Cans of Soup

The kiddos are gorgeous.  Gorgeously snotty and sick, but still gorgeous.  Judah is this 'all boy' phase where he stomps around the house, usually carrying something heavy, hollaring about whatever pre-verbal nearly 14 month old boys have to hollar about.  Not mad, not sad, just loud.  He "comes by it honest", as they say where I am from.  He is into everything and his favorite thing lately is to raid my pantry so at night when I am putting things away that were forgotten, I usually find blocks and some Cream of Mushroom soup lurking under a chair.  Unopened cans are, in his opinion, perfect playthings.  They stack, they are heavy, the roll.  What more could a kid ask for? He is at this moment, in fact, siting with a plastic drum on his head, yelling at me about it.  In spite of the flushed cheeks, the rivers of snot, and the general feeling crummy, he still has stuff to do. 

Cora is learning how to skype with her grandparents and is further lost in her imaginative play.  Her daytime 'rest', because she gave up napping long ago, is filled with dressing up Bear and Bunny in her own clothes, cloths, scarves, underwear, whatever.  They have big adventures together.  Her imagination extends to the night when I am sometimes awakened by her crying and half awake telling me her floor is made of goo and she can't get out or other various situations.  No way this kid is getting anywhere near scary movies or shows.  Matt says she has my imagination and I suffer from nightmares if I am exposed to scary movies.  Even Dr. Who makes me have crazy dreams. (but I watch anyway!!)
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