“Sometimes not helping is helping.”
That was the comment from an old friend when I shared a photo on social media recently of my wonderful daughter Adaline sprawled out over a pile of freshly dried towels.
See, she wants to help. Always. Every time.
She asks to help and even follows me to the area where she thinks the “help” is needed.
In this case, it was the laundry.
“Addy, do you want to help me with something?” is now answered as enthusiastically as “Addy, would you like (insert candy product here)?”
And for that, yes, I am grateful.
She could be totally ignoring me (something I am sure will happen later in life) or self-absorbed with Dora or the Bubble Guppies.
But she’s showing an interest in doing something to help out, which I definitely want to encourage.
Of course, as my friend pointed out, sometimes not assisting in the folding of the laundry can be just as big of a help to dad.
Addy decided to insert herself into the clothes’ basket. That’s helping a bunch.
I went ahead and indulged her, pushing her into the living room to leave her, momentarily, while I retrieved the towels.
By the time I returned, you know, 11 seconds later, she had piled random living room items into the basket.
Helpful tip No. 1: Don’t leave your soon-to-be 3-year-old alone. Ever. With anything.
I started folding the towels, unnoticed, while Addy played with her new “toy.”
Once she spotted me, though, more helping came my way.
She hurtled herself onto the couch and the towels, promptly resting her head on the pile.
Each time I slowly pulled a towel out from under her, she would pop up and say, “You messing up my pillow!”
Helpful tip No. 2: My child isn’t actually going to fold anything.
As the pile dwindled away, Addy let her imagination take over, using the last few towels to pretend to dry my hair off, wrap the cat in (which almost ended badly, for both of them) and to place across the lamp. All good uses when you are 3.
I excused myself to the kitchen to unload the dishwasher when Addy bolted in after me.
“Can I help?”
“Sure sweetie,” I replied, opening the door to reveal a dozen knives, glasses, pots and pans.
“Well, maybe not. We’ll do this later.”
“Can I have a sucker?”
There’s my girl. It’s all about priorities.
John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.