Danielle, my 19-month-old daughter, is constantly busy. She never just sits. She is always on the move and getting into something or climbing on something or taking something apart. She watches everything that everyone in our family does and often times tries to imitate them or help them. Lately she is insistent that she help me unload the dishwasher. Most times I will try to do it while she is napping, but recently I decided that I needed to practice patience and we unloaded the dishwasher together. Each time she handed me a utensil, I thanked her & told her what a great job she was doing. When she picked up the bowls, one at a time, and blew into them, I took each one and wiped it with a towel, asked her to not do that, and put the bowls away. Whew! We finished and nothing was broken.

So it should not have surprised me the next day when I left her with her dad for the day and came home to find the utensils in our drawer a disaster area. When I first took out a fork that seemed to have something on it, I thought, "Oh, the dishwasher didn't do a very good job cleaning this fork." Then later, I noticed that there was a smudge of peanut butter. Wait, what was going on??? As I stopped what I was doing and began to really look at the utensils in the drawer I noticed that there was a dirty spoon in with the forks & a knife full of peanut butter in with the clean knives. This was more than the dishwasher not doing a good job cleaning. I was confused for a minute and then it hit me. I asked my hubby & he admitted that he thought she had gotten into the dishwasher, but when he came into the kitchen he simply closed the dishwasher and told her to stay out of it. Danielle, in her enthusiasm to help, had put away all the still-dirty utensils. Well, that drawer needed a good cleaning out anyway. Unfortunately, our dishwasher does not have a lock on it, so we will just have to keep on eye on our very helpful daughter. We have had to buy a kitchen trash can that can be locked because she was throwing away many things that she interpreted to be trash and it was becoming difficult to remember to check the trash before it went out.

I know that I need to cherish and encourage her very helpful spirit because as she grows older she may be less willing to help. She is certainly more enthusiastic about participating in chores and family projects than her two older brothers. I also know that patience is a virtue that I need right now.

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Jun. 2, 2008 at 5:17 PM Awww that is such a good story to read! Thank you!  Hopefully she will be a huge help to you as she grows up.  One of my four was my helper, the other's , eh! LOL

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