kids helping hands

Part of allowing children time to grow up is recognizing that children thrive on time with their parents and learn the most while working with or imitating mom or dad. After writing one too many columns about children helping out, I received a series of e-mails from the mothers of the youngest of the grandchildren. I am pleased to see that the grandchildren are already eagerly embracing my basic work ethics.
From New Orleans the e-mail reflects every generation’s idealistic quest to do things differently, better than one’s parents did. A couple excerpts from the young mother:
With one child, I was the perfect mother. With two kids, I was halfway decent, with three I am barely passing muster. My 4-year-old daughter told me for the second time that I am a bad mom. Words like that do hurt. All I did was put her in time-out for having a fit.
Even though I am outnumbered now, I am more organized. Mostly because I am doing things exactly the way my mother did. Instead of picking up after my children, I round them up and have them help me, just like my mother.
My mother had me doing dishes when I was 8 years-old. I didn’t force my 4-year-old to do dishes, but she has loved helping with them since she was 2.
My 2-year-old son doesn’t do dishes, but he loves to crack eggs. He also spoons sugar into my coffee whether I ask him to or not. I like my coffee sweet, but sometimes when he helps without my asking, it is too sweet for even me.
Even the baby is helping. At 8-months-old she stood unaided, gave herself a standing ovation and took a tiny step. At 9-months-old she is very mobile and motivates me to clean the house very quickly before she grabs anything off the floor that will fit in her mouth.
When they all were sick with colds last week my son took care of his own medication. He began sneaking the peppermints. When I caught him, he told me he needed them because he was sick.
From Niles, Mich. e-mail excerpts:
I woke up at 10 a.m. Sunday morning after Daylight Savings began. I could hear all three girls playing in their bedroom. We told them that if they woke up they should wake us up, but they didn’t. When I opened the door to the bedroom, they were sitting on the floor eating cereal.
The oldest said, “Good morning, Mom.”
“What are you doing?”
“You and daddy were asleep and we were hungry so I fixed us some cereal. Are you mad? I wanted to let you and daddy sleep.”
She had taken the bowls out of the drainer where I left them after washing up the night before. The cereal is on the bottom shelf of the cupboard and she can reach the milk and spoons. She fixed all of their breakfasts and went into their room so they wouldn’t wake us.”
As their grandmother and an outspoken advocate of children channeling all their boundless energy into something useful, I was quite impressed. Keep those cards and e-mails coming mommas!