Success Breeds Success

// April 25th, 2012 // Uncategorized

As some of you already know, I’m not much of a housekeeper. There are usually dirty dishes waiting in my sink {or on the counter, ugh} and a host of other chores in line behind them. Because of that, I didn’t teach my kids much about keeping up with the constant demands of a home. In that light, this post might not make much sense. But on occasion, the advice herein was relevant even to me.

Laundry Day + Toddlers = Lots of Fun!
Each week, my family of seven generated a mountain of laundry that might have taken me two days to fold, if I could get around to it all. Why else did I have laundry baskets? Chest of drawers? Fahggitabut em. I digress…
I did try to get some folding done, with the help of my little ones. Towels were a good place to start. My toddler searched the basket for washcloths as we chatted about, well…whatever we chat about with a person so new to the world. I especially remember teaching Jae how to fold them. Slowly, I demonstrated folding the square washcloth into neat quarters. With much smoothing of wrinkles [and creation of new wrinkles] Jae carefully spread a cloth on the coffee table {or in my case, tea table…I detest the smell of coffee}, grabbed a corner, pulled it aside, and then bunched it into a ball of constantly changing dimensions. Each cloth, she carefully placed onto a growing—lo­osely configured—pile.
Mission accomplished. Next, we put the towels away {unless something else caught my attention, which happened more often than not—did I mention I’m a bit distractible?}. The under-counter bathroom cabinet was perfectly within my toddler’s reach. After I put the big towels into their space, Jae placed the washcloths next to them. Well, she grabbed a few at a time from the stack (remember, it’s a loosely configured stack) and shoved them in next to the bath towels.
Although I liked the washcloths folded into quarters and placed in two neat stacks alongside the towels, I left the gobs just as Jae put them there. Here’s why…
Bath time.
Jae wanted to do as much by herself as her little two-year-old body would allow. But, I think she didn’t have a two-year-old brain. Being so much younger than her siblings (14, 10, and 8 years), she thought she was much older, and that she should be able to do more than her limited muscle memory allowed. But, back to bath time…warm water covering the bottom quarter of the tub, toys floating, nekked kid antsy to get in….but wait! She needs one more thing, and she can get it by herself. She opens the cabinet and grabs a cloth. From the loosely configured stack.
If I had straightened out the cloths, folded them neatly the way I like them, her job would have been meaningless. I’d have told her by my actions that her job wasn’t good enough.
As we teach our kids the importance of participating in family life and helping to keep hearth and home in order, I think it’s equally important to accept their work at their ability level. Bedspread askew, washcloths in gobs—t­hese things are nothing compared to the sense of accomplishment kids feel when they’ve done a job and the warm glow they feel from your praise of their efforts. {Fear not. Success breeds success. Each time a child­­—or­ grown up, for that matter—wo­rks at a task, they become more proficient at it. The bedspread won’t always be askew.}
There’s plenty of time to correct and perfect. It’s a long job, this parenting business.

Still looking forward…….

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