Adult: Make it easier or possible for (someone) to do something by offering them one’s services or resources.
Child: Make it harder or impossible for (anyone) to do anything by offering them one’s broad knowledge base* and exemplary manual labor skills*
Now that’s out of the way with, I want you to take a good hard look at the picture above.
If you’ve got even a hint of a smidgen of motherly instinct this is probably making your ovaries pulse just a little.
“Oooh she’s helping with the dishes, oh what a precious little bundle of toddler meat that totally hasn’t been acting like a right proper turd all day today, being as inconvenient as a phone call from your parents at dinner time and robbing mummy and daddy of some much needed mummy and daddy time by living by the mantra of ‘Naps is for suckers.’ All while behaving in general like a potato sack full of sodden towels that occasionally has epileptic fits accompanied by sounds not dissimilar to a jet engine with a loose bearing.” Mind you she has been better behaved this arvo. Comparatively.
The aforementioned maternal ovarian pulsing is warranted. It’s a lovely scene of my mini monster “helping” me do the dishes.
Let that sink in (sink, haha, dishwashing dad joke) while I paint the picture of what’s happening on the other side of the camera (phone).
I am standing there, legs spread abnormally wide because one foot is propped against the wire frame of the chair my kid’s standing on to firmly keeping it in place and prevent her tiny teeth from losing a fight with the bench because she insists on pushing against it no matter how much I protest thus making the chair slide back. Said chair also conveniently sports a thin and apparently razor sharp frame which is gouging into my plantar fascia in case you’re wondering. When not taking a seemingly happy photo my lower back is on fire as I arch over her busy body. I have to do some stupid cack-handed munty reach over her head to put the dishes on the drip rack while simultaneously blocking her from turning the tap on and grabbing mugs out of the sink. All of this at the same time as cleaning.
Meanwhile she’s doing her very best impersonation of “help” by bailing out of that pesky water from the sink one scoop of her tupperware cup at a time. Diverting the occasional scoop from the second bowl to pour it down the bench/onto me/onto her until she’s out of water. At which point she starts grabbing great handfuls of dirty dish bubbles and blows them at me while I complete my task with whatever dregs of water I can absorb into the sponge head on the scrubbing thingie.
Two things to take away from this.
Never ever EVER trust a photo on social media of a happy and content toddler enjoying a menial activity because it was likely taken by a disheveled and frazzled parent right on the very precipice of madness who no doubt consumed half a bottle of booze or an entire block of chocolate the second the little monster finally fell asleep (not went to bed, there’s a difference).
And secondly, to all the child-less people out there that are wondering what it’s like to have a bundle of joy in the house, there’s your example.
Having a child in your life is like trying to do the dishes while someone else bails the water out of the sink at the same time. Among various other irritating things.
Which makes you wonder why I’m bothering. Because I fucking hate doing the dishes at the best of time and now we’re in the new place we finally have a dishwasher again.
Well the other side of having a child in your life is that it’s not about you anymore.
I could have had those dishes done in a few minutes without any unnecessary back/foot pain or shirt wetting but I would have either had a crying child watch me doing it because she wanted to be involved, or the TV going to distract her like a little zombie.
The fact is, I leave some dishes out of the dishwasher now because she loves helping me do dishes. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to be the bastard that snuffs out her desire to help others.
I bothered doing it because watching her play while I work makes the shit jobs fun.
And when we were done, we went and blew bubbles in the back yard. Mostly because she chucked a massive fucking nana when I drained the sink and she didn’t have any bubbles to play with anymore.
As a side note, right at the end, she shoved a filthy dishwater-bubbles coated palm into her mouth.
I had to stop her going in for seconds.
Bubbles flew out afterwards when she looked up at me with a foam filled mouth and declared ‘Bub-oosh!’
The take away? Having a child in your life is like trying to do the dishes while someone else bails the water out of the sink at the same time. Among various other irritating things. And doing it anyways when you have every opportunity to avoid all the irritation because deep down, you abso-fucking-lutely love it.
p.s. I won’t lie, there are some days I’ll turn that TV on and let her zombie for a few minutes while I do the dishes quickly in peace. I’m not perfect and I’d wager you aren’t either. Don’t stress. Hell’s where the party will be at.