A few weeks ago, an interesting event occured after supper. My husband was gone for the evening, the toy room was a mess, and the dishes needed to be done. I sent my daughters into clean up the toy room while I did dishes, telling them if they hurried, there would be more time for stories.
I slowly started my dishes, as the girls immediately set about finding ways to NOT pick up their toys but still look like they were doing their job. After a few minutes, I checked in on them, scolded them, and went back to my dishes.
After a minute, Lyd came into the room and asked, “Mom, what if we did a race?”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“What if we each hurry to do our jobs to see who gets done first?”
Holy amazing smart child! Who taught her this? I wish I could say me, but it wasn’t. But with an eager grin on her face, I knew she was on to something good. As the song goes, “In every job that must be done there is an element of fun. You find the fun and, snap, the job’s a game!”
“What a great idea!” I said. “Let’s go!”
And, wouldn’t you know it, she worked diligently and quickly, much more diligently AND quickly than usual, and I picked up the tempo of my dish-washing. I discovered I really could do that job faster than I usually did it, and Lyd suprised herself by how quickly she could put things away.
To my greater surprise, she became quite detail-oriented about getting Every Little Thing Put Away. This is NOT the daughter I usually see when it’s time to clean up. But Lyd was putting little pieces back exactly where they belonged, looking under the chairs and couches for stray pieces, even straightening and plumping up the couch pillows!
As luck would have it, it turned out that we both finished our work at the same time. But, we both finished with smiles on our faces, jobs well done (because I’m detail-oriented as well, just usually at a slower pace), and with extra time for our bedtime routine.
Since then, Lyd has had more moments when she takes a job on herself and does it with great detail. I’m so delighted to see this side of my daughter. I always suspected it was in there (and her Kindergarten teacher last year said that she saw this side of Lyd often in the classroom), but I rarely saw it around home. However, I think we may have turned a corner.
Tonight as she got ready for bed, she made her bed all by herself, folded her blankie, set her dolly on top of it neatly, straighted up the rest of her room, and then called me in to see what she had done.
“Doesn’t it look nice, Momma?” she asked eagerly.
“It looks absolutely wonderful!” I answered.
I am SO pleased. 🙂