I love my daughter. She is smart, sweet, funny and she loves to help.
Or rather… “help.”
Some things she’s better at helping with than others. Like putting clothes in the washing machine or the dryer. Or taking clothes out of the dryer. Or trying to put her brother in the dryer. She excels at these things.
Vacuuming? Not so much.
She tries though. She really does.
Lillian first started “helping” with the vacuuming when she saw me going to town underneath the dining room table with the vacuum hose after dinner one night. Instead of scolding her when she tried to grab the hose from my hands, I seized the opportunity to instill in my daughter a love for doing chores (especially those I loathe) and handed her the extender hose attachment. It wasn’t attached to the vacuum and therefore was just a useless piece of plastic, but she didn’t know that. She got a huge smile on her face and sidled up next to me under the table, whipping the attachment back and forth just like Mommy.
It was adorable.
Of course that only worked for a few days before she decided she was ready to do even more to help. In the days to come when I would bring out the vacuum, she would rush over and begin turning the vacuum on and off. On and off. On and off. After about the 8th round of that, I managed to coax her away from the switch and gave her the hose attachment. I could tell from her face she was a little disappointed that she had been relegated to the extension. “I’ve already mastered this, Mom,” I read in her eyes, “I’m ready for more!”
The next night when I brought out the vacuum her eyes lit up with joy and the on/off game began. Then I gave her the hose while I started doing the real vacuuming. Mere seconds after I moved the chairs away from the table, she was behind the whirring vacuum ready for action.
To say I wasn’t in the mood would be an understatement. It had been a long day of tantrums and tears from both of my kids and I was in survival mode until they were both asleep.
But she looked at me so earnestly, wanting so badly to help, to be a big girl, to be like Mom, that I gave in.
The next hour seemed like seven because, while I stood behind her and did the steering of the vacuum, she pushed and pulled the vacuum over three-inch increments across the dining room area. She was sad when I told her we were finally(!) finished, but her little chest was puffed out almost as much as her belly after a dinner of mac and cheese and green beans.
She knew she had successfully helped Mom and I gave her many hugs and kisses and praised her for her good work. After all, in the blink of an eye she’ll be storming around the house, slamming doors, and declaring that she doesn’t want to vacuum the house or any other chore I ask of her.
In those moments I hope to fondly look back on the evening it took me–I mean, the evening it took us–an hour to vacuum 25 square feet.
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