Mama’s Little Helper

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We’re entering a new phase that makes Mama very happy! Lucy loves to help. Give that girl a job and she’s on top of it. That’s my kind of girl! I started dreaming up ways she could “help” me get things done around the house a few weeks ago, as hubby is gone many more evenings and weekends now, leaving Lu and I to fend for ourselves. Here are a few jobs she’s getting pretty good at:
Laundry. While I’m folding PILES of clothes (we really need to make a trip to Goodwill), Lucy can sort socks! What toddler doesn’t love sorting? Life skills, people!

Dishes. Lucy is now a confident “cutlery manager.” I rinse (washing any sharp knives by hand), and she puts it in the dishwasher. Teamwork!

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Gardening. One of our favorite activities during these dog days of summer is to head out in the backyard, in the early morning, and see what’s ripe. She’s getting better at only picking the blue blueberries (not the white, green, or purple ones), and we’re working on colors so she can search for red tomatoes on the vine. Besides that, Lucy Lu can weed! This obviously requires supervision, to be sure she isn’t “weeding” any beautiful blooms, but she really gets into it. Often I will be the one pulling weeds and she organizes them in a “pi” (pile).

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Vacuuming. Lucy used to be terrified of the vacuum. Well, really anything that made a loud noise. In fact, while we’ve made progress with the hair dryer and air conditioner, she’s still not so sure about the coffee grinder. I think our cleaning has suffered tremendously because we couldn’t ever vacuum during awake hours with Lucy, and didn’t want to risk waking her up at naptime (this is really just a great excuse for why we hardly ever vacuum, but a good one, right??). Anyway, a couple weeks ago we started letting Lucy play with the DustBuster. By golly, suddenly that thing had purpose! If you need any corners, nooks, or crannies cleaned, I’ll send my girl and her pink toddler-sized vacuum on over!

Cooking. This is the hardest one for me to manage. Hot pans, sizzling oil, raw eggs, and flour usually don’t go well with an active toddler. And if I’m in the kitchen, I can’t follow Lucy around the house. I’m still thinking up ways I can get her involved in cooking, though. Besides the fact that she and I have to eat, even when daddy’s not around to help (I should note, when he’s home, he does most of the cooking), Lucy also loves being in the kitchen and loves watching all the different steps involved in creating food. I think teaching a child about cooking is also a great way to teach about following directions, making mistakes, and problem-solving (“Why is the batter so dry? Oh! We forgot the milk. Let’s try again!”). So far we have allowed Lucy to help with anything that needs mixed. She can stir it up with the best of them! Pancakes, waffles, cornbread, quinoa salad, etc. And when she can’t help and I have to be manning the stove, thank goodness for markers, crayons, stickers, and paper. I bring her activity table into the middle of the kitchen and let her go to town on her art.

Now, before you go thinking about child labor laws, don’t you worry. Lucy is well aware of her rights and will go on strike at a moment’s notice if she feels slighted, or hungry, or tired, or thirsty, or really if there’s anything else she’d rather be doing at the moment. But for the most part, Lu and I are finding a balance of how I can manage full-time working mom duties with housework. Let’s make cleaning time quality time! 🙂

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