We have reached the “helpful” phase. To be fair we’ve been in the helpful phase for a few months but now the Munchkin is really big into helping all the time.
Recognizing that we’ve hit this phase has actually been really good for me as well. Whenever she starts becoming a nuisance I ask the Munchkin to do something for me and it generally turns my life around.
In the grocery store checkout lane when she’s starting to get annoyed with sitting in the cart for too long: “here help me put things on the conveyor belt!” and she proceeds to help me unload the cart
When she’s starting to get all dramatic about me not letting her do something she wants to do: “please throw this in the trash like a big helpful girl” and dutifully she throws it out and lets be honest, in a house with a toddler there is always trash.
There are even times where she tries to be helpful even though she’s way over her head:
She attempted to “help” the Mr. change the headlights on one of the cars recently. She just started mimicking the Mr. by lying down on the ground, picking up tools, poking various parts near the headlight or tire region. It was incredibly cute to watch her just trying to be with and like her dad and I’m hoping this behavior continues at least for a little while. She doesn’t necessarily need to be a gear head but being able to do the little things would be useful for her life.
There are times where she also behaves as if she is being helpful but clearly it is a means to her own ends. This is the case with the laundry. She’ll see me folding laundry but instead of being any sort of use to me her goal is purely to empty the laundry basket so she can then climb into newly emptied laundry basket and sit in it. She then expects me to push her around like she’s in a car of which I (usually) happily oblige her, the laundry can wait for a few trips around the living room while we’re making “vroom” sounds.
She is also starting to “help” in the kitchen which comes in various forms depending on her mood. She will pull her stool up to the stove and climb up to see what I’m doing, she will attempt to throw cheese on whatever happens to be out until she gets too bored that she starts eating the cheese herself or my new personal favorite:
We have discovered the magical sound that is made when you bang two pot lids together. Holy hell that is a loud noise!
And these examples now bring me to the real subject: our walk today. We were out playing in the yard after nap time and the Munchkin was getting antsy; she didn’t want to be in the yard any longer and so I asked if she wanted to take the dogs for a walk. Between winter and now she is pretty much fully mobile we haven’t been using the stroller a whole lot, most of the places we’ve gone she’s been able to walk instead of being carried and she prefers the freedom of walking on her own two legs. She and the dogs were happy about the idea of going for a walk in the quasi-spring like weather (closest we’re going to get ahead of the next couple of storms moving our way). I, however, should have re-thought this plan.
She wanted to hold one of the leashes in the worst way but any time the dog walked a little faster she’d drop the leash (which to be fair is smarter than letting the dog drag her to the ground) but she’d get so upset at not being able to hold the leash. Then she’d get bored of holding the leash and want to investigate something on the ground (currently rocks are her favorite). We did have a few issues with her not being careful or listening since we were walking down the street with cars and she’s two so it’s all part of the process.
We ended up being out for a little over 30 minutes and going almost half a mile normally I can cover 2 miles walking in 30 minutes but alas everything with a toddler takes a little longer but if she is trying to “help” or do it her way I try not to discourage it too much because otherwise she’ll never learn. I just have to keep reminding myself that my goal is to raise a functioning person. She won’t be a toddler, a kid, or a teenager nearly as long as she’ll be an adult out there in the “real” world. If I keep doing things for her or not asking her to do things she’s capable of I am doing her a disservice that could end up with her acting like a lazy, entitled, spoiled brat so every second “wasted” waiting for the Munchkin to do it when asked is a second where I’m raising an adult. Or at least that’s my hope.