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My Little Helper - Elizabeth Unexplained
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greyautumnrain
greyautumnrain
My Little Helper
Margaret is a very helpful little girl. She seems to love to help. Some of the things she does are genuinely helpful, like holding the diaper clutch on request when I am trying to get her and her stroller down the porch steps, or turning off the bedroom light on request, and spontaneously bringing me my slippers or shoes when a change of footgear seems appropriate. Mind you, I often get my shoes delivered to me early on weekend mornings while I am still undressed, which I take as a strong hint that it’s about time I got my act together and took my poor child for a walk. Still, she clearly means to be helpful, and her efforts that actually are helpful are rewarded with praise because I am not a complete idiot.

Some of the ways in which Margaret tries to be helpful are less helpful than she intends. She loves to feed me when I feed her. I do appreciate this loving gesture on her part, and she is getting better at it, but for now breakfast must happen before my shower so that I can wash the yogurt out of my hair afterwards. We also realized that there had been far too much illness in the family when she started holding tissues up to our noses so that we can blow. She continues to do this for me even though my nose had been run-free for weeks. It’s not helpful, but it is so darn cute that I can’t help but play along and make nose-blowing sounds into the tissue.

Recently Margaret has added a “helpful” behavior that is a bit more problematic. As any mother knows, using the bathroom alone is a luxury not often enjoyed by the mothers of small children. Margaret is quite familiar with my potty routine. When she got old enough that she started leaning on my knee during the solid waste elimination episodes I thought that was not a good thing, and I took to attempting to distract her with various toys and books. (Attempt is the key word here.) The past week, though, she has noticed that sitting on the potty is always followed by grabbing a wad of toilet paper and wiping. Ever helpful, Margaret has taken to grabbing some toilet paper and reaching for areas of my body that I’d really rather she not touch. It’s cute, but at the same time, problematic. I will have to up the distraction attempts. Mind you, while I certainly hope to be one of those spunky old ladies who remain perfectly self-sufficient until suffering some rapid demise in their very old age, I can’t count on it, so it is perhaps reassuring to know that my daughter is willing to help me with the basics of personal hygiene. It may not be helpful right now, but fifty years from now it could be darn handy.

All in all, Margaret is such a delight. I get hugs, kisses, cuddles and pats on the back, and you’d better believe I am enjoying every second of it. I really enjoyed her as a newborn and small baby, I just didn’t realize how much I was going to enjoy her as a toddler. Sure, I have to watch her like a hawk to make sure she doesn’t cause herself a serious injury, but her increasing ability to actively show affection more than makes up for the vigilance. She’s also just more fun, requesting games and songs and walks. I’m not sure it can get better than this.
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Comments
enugent From: enugent Date: September 28th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
If she's getting interested in "the process," I would consider getting her a potty that she can sit on while you're on the big one. She doesn't have to actually disrobe, but the novelty of sort-of doing what Mommy does might help. I think it was around 18 months that we starting having Dorothy sit on the potty before her bath (since she was naked anyway), and she got pretty reliable about using it at that time. (She didn't fully potty train until she was three, but at least she was familiar with the potty from an early age.)
gryphon2k From: gryphon2k Date: September 29th, 2009 12:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
I concur with enugent. One of the best distractors is for her to play "pretend" on her own potty while you are doing your business. And it starts setting up habits that will ease training when she is ready for it.

Every age is a new wonder and delight, even when they get to be 15 and moody. ;)
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