Helping Hands

Many hands make light work.

It’s a lie. Or rather, it’s only true some of the time.

Have you ever tried to clean a house with the assistance of a toddler? It’s interesting. And by interesting, I mean incredibly frustrating and character building. Especially when they alternate between helping and wanting you to be done already and come play with them.

Fiona helped dry the dishes today. (I leave the heated dry off to lower our energy use and bill.) By “helped” I mean to say that she grabbed wet dishes and dropped them on the not-yet-cleaned floor, then dropped the towel on top of them.  Thanks, I’ll re-wash those. I don’t mind a bit.

I showed her how to wipe them and she excitedly helped with two then dropped the third on her toes. And bawled. And wanted to cuddle. For forty-five minutes. An hour and a half later I had the dishes emptied and reloaded.

It was time to sweep and mop. I have determination.

Water and my child seem to create mischief. Perhaps all children create mischief in the presence of water, I don’t know. All I know is that I find myself with swampy floors on an alarmingly regular basis.

I turned my back this afternoon to run out to the garage and get the pine-sol and by the time I got back (maybe 5 seconds) Fiona had started the mopping process without me. She doesn’t grasp the “wringing out the mop” step yet.

As an aside, having told my daughter to stay out of the mop bucket at least a dozen times, I’m going to have to switch to some more child and ecology friendly solution for mopping. The idea that I don’t like her to walk on wet floors, not because of the footprints or sliding, but because I worry about the chemicals on her feet, means that it’s time for a change.

Getting the mop water back into the bucket takes significantly more time than getting it out. Especially after I stopped and grabbed the camera before I reclaimed the mop. (Pictures will be forthcoming.)
Mopping, too, takes more time when you have to encourage a small child not to slide across the floor. It’s really pointless to try though, because she’ll only believe you after she falls. And hurts herself. And cries. And wants cuddles. Twice.
And then we folded the laundry. (See The Laundry Game  for details.)
All in all, I would say that the process takes longer with helping hands. Many hands do not make light work. Little hands make mischief instead.
I have to confess though, once I take a deep breath and remind myself that I have all day and if doesn’t get done no one will care but me, the little helping hands do help. They help me remember that accidents happen, and water is a thing of joy, and that nothing is boring if you’re doing it with someone you love.  Oh, yes, the little hands definitely help.
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