Having 5 kids one day last week made me realise all the things I do for my son, without noticing. There was always someone calling me, always someone wanting to be picked up, cuddled, chased, lots of laughing, some tears and the occasional spill.
I was going from one to the other, trying to keep them all clean, safe and happy. The baby was having a poo day and just as I changed a nappy, she needed a new one and several changes of clothes. It's easy to get lost in a world of washing, cleaning and feeling like it will never end.
I was starting to feel a bit lost when I heard a little voice behind me.... "Me help." A cartoon lightbulb went off in my head, why did I have to do this all by myself when there were little people that love to "help"?
Suddenly they were making cakes together, helping make dinner, vacuuming and looking after the baby. They all loved having their jobs to do. They were all useful. Not only were they all amused and happy, but they were actually helping do what I needed to do.
I'm not saying everything was perfect.... There were fingers in cake mix, sprinkles all over the floor, more peel than carrot and we ran out of nappies (Mum came back to a newborn taped into a 2 year old's nappy), but it was nothing that couldn't be fixed. They were all so proud sharing what they made and clapping and laughing when they made the baby burp.
Helping was just like a game to them. How do little boys go from starting to get some independence and wanting to help and learn, to dependant young adults who can't make their own omeletes?
I am hoping the sense of pride and enjoyment they get from little achievements stands them in good stead for when these jobs become less of a game and more of a chore. It may backfire totally and we get all their help now and later can't distinguish between them and the couch, but at least we can say we tried. Right?