Do I work Sweetie too hard? Do I expect too much from her at too early an age?
I ask her (and expect her) to help me put folded kitchen towels from the dryer into the kitchen drawer. I ask her to help me take the dryer contents to the living room for folding. I even ask her to to carry small piles of clean clothes upstairs to the rightful owner's room.
I sometimes have her help me put the plasticware and some of the silverware away when I empty the dishwasher.
And I need her to be a big girl for me when I drop her off at school - she needs to be helpful as we walk into the building together.
One drop-off instance last week did not go so well - at first. We pulled into the parking space at her school and Sweetie started crying that she did not want to be there.
I got out and went around to unclick her from her booster seat and help her out. Instead, I spent more than five minutes listening to her scream NO! at me and trying to reason with her about why she needed to go to school and why she needed to calm down and walk in the building with me. Why she needed to help me help her.
I gave her the ultimatum that she could either stop crying and walk in with me, or I'd have to call one of her teachers on my cell phone to come out to the car and carry her in - crying or not. And I had my cell phone at the ready - a threat I was fully prepared to go through with.
Admittedly, I did give this particular threat a few chances to sink in. She very adamantly did not want me to call the teacher. So I gave her the opportunity to settle down and decide to walk with me. And after a few minutes, she did just that.
In fact, she stopped her tears, resolutely walked into her classroom, allowed me to help her hang up her coat and bag, and then help her get a tissue in the bathroom to dry her eyes.
She hugged me goodbye, said she was okay, and that was that. I left her there to have a great day at school - and she did.
What's my point? I'm not sure. I'm at once proud of Sweetie for working with me to get things done - either chores around the house or help with getting her from place to place. But at the same time I feel a little bad that I ask so much of her sometimes.
The things I ask her to do for me really do help to make my situation a little easier to manage. I mean, it's kind of a pain (not literally, thank goodness) for me to go back and forth from the laundry room to the living room with arm loads full of laundry. I can do it, but it takes a lot more effort for me than for others. Likewise, I cannot easily climb stairs - especially while carrying piles of laundry. I can do it, but, again, not as easily as others.
But then again, maybe these types of tasks are also too much to ask of a 4- year old.
As for the walking with me and calming down and helping me help her - this is an absolute must for Sweetie whenever she and I are out alone together. I cannot lift and carry her anywhere. She must be calm and willing (even begrudgingly so) to walk with me as we make our way to various places.
Other moms are able to physically deal with an unwilling child. Other moms can just scoop the kid up and plop them down where they need to be. Other moms can take the bull by the horns and make things go the way they need them to go - whether the kid likes it or not.
But my Sweetie needs to buck up, be a big girl, and help her Mommy out as calmly as possible every single time - no ifs, ands or buts.
That's actually probably a good thing. It's teaching Sweetie compassion, responsibility and helpfulness. Being my daughter is instilling some very important lessons into Sweetie's life. And that's really wonderful!
I just sometimes feel a little bad, a little sad, that Sweetie has to think about such things right now. She can't just flip out uncontrollably, like little kids sometimes really need to do. I mean, she can, but as she's getting older, we're teaching her more and more to understand why she mustn't do that. We're insisting that she get a grip and move on with it.
All in the name of helping her Mommy stay well. All in the name of helping her Mommy take care of her.
Still - she shouldn't have to worry about keeping me safe. She shouldn't have to worry about how she's taken care of. She just needs to know, like other kids, that she is.
That's all I'm sayin'.