Tuesday, July 24, 2007


I have a little helper. He has been helping for over a year now. Before he could walk, he would crawl over to the drying rack and pass me dry clothes to fold. He still does this sometimes, but he's moving up and helping with more complicated things.

Since we moved he has become incredibly more independent. There are things that he insists on helping with, even though it is not always very helpful. Like answering the phone. When the phone rings he makes a mad dash for it. He grabs it and runs it over to me. When I am working, this is really helpful. When he is the furthest from the phone and waiting for him to get it would mean missing the call, it is not so helpful. And not getting to the phone first is painful. We are talking tears. He throws himself on the couch in complete agony. He reacts less to physical pain than to the pain of not answering the phone.

He has also been a co-conspirator in the diaper change. We threw out his teeter-y changing table and got him a regular dresser. So diaper changes are done on the floor of his room. When I tell him it is time to change the diaper, he runs to his room, puts his changing pad on the floor and lays down on it. The he holds his legs up so I can have easy access.

Last night I was aching with pride over his new efforts at help. He helped me make dinner. He has been watching me more and apparently taking mental notes. There is a small foot stool in the kitchen that he pushes over to where I am working and he stands on it to see the action. He does this especially when I am using something loud, like the blender or the mixer. Last night I was making a salad to go with our artichoke risotto. I wanted to put an apple in the salad and told him. I opened the fridge, he got out the apple and put it on the counter. I cut it, he threw away the core and put the cut up pieces of apple in the bowl. I rinsed a can of white beans and he scooped up handfuls to add to the salad (and snuck a few on the way to the bowl). Then, he helped set the table, we ate, he helped clear the table and he pushed in all the chairs.

It was amazing.

It was actually, honestly, amazingly helpful.

Over the past year or so, I have thought more and more about community and people groups and the strengths and abilities that folks add to their people group. I have posted on this several times...and here I go again. I think Andrew is tapping in on wanting to feel needed. He knows that his efforts are helpful, because he sees me do them. He knows that someone will add the apples to the bowl and push in the chairs, why not him? It reminds me again that we need each other. Andrew's throwing out the apple core is evidence. It is programmed in. He was designed to want to help, to want to feel needed, to want to please. He was designed to be around and help others.

I plan on capitalizing on this regularly.

I mean, who better to dust under the beds?


Goes On Runs said...

our big word is "self"... "do self." i see that same need for independence but wants to be helpful... like sweeping. by the time he is actually helpful, he won't want to help anymore.

Tara Whalen said...

This is great! But with it comes a little patience on your part.

My kids started putting away their own clothes a few years ago. When Mom came to visit she was a little bothered by the fact that the kids did not rotate the clean ones to the bottom or stack them neatly. It was more important to me for them to learn the responsibility of putting their own things away. I have tried several times showing them how to do it neatly, but they are kids after all.

When he is dusting, remember that he is just a little cutie and you might need to do a little follow up =)