Monday, March 4, 2013

Goldilocks stage

This weekend I swapped daughters with my sister.  I think I had the better deal - funny, sweet and loving 6 year old versus mood swing delux 16 year old.  Compared to her sisters, Jess is proving to be a much easier teen to deal with but like all teens she can change from delightful to freaking annoying in a second.

Michael loves to explain that if the earth were the entire universe, that one grain of sand on the beach would not even be a parallel to what the earth is in comparison to the entire universe.

A child goes through 3 stages of helpfulness.

1. I want to "help" but my "help" means that every task takes Mommy twice as long.

Suddenly your child thinks helping Mommy is the coolest thing, he/she wants to pack the dishwasher.  After they have packed the  dishwasher you have to repack it as there is no way in hell those dishes are going to get clean stacked the way they are.  They fold your laundry into odd shaped bumps that could never stack.  They wipe counters in a way that the counters look dirtier.  They want to chop veggies and you give them a blunt knife and have to carefully watch that the only thing they kill is the vegetable while your food on the stove starts to burn.  This stage seems to last forever but is usually for about 3 to 4 years.

2. The magical I want to help and I can actually do things well stage. Goldilocks stage.

Remember the grain of sand.  If you take your child's entire life and compare it to the size of the planet then the "I want to help and I am actually useful stage", would be compare about the same as the grain of sand to the planet.  For magical millisecond your child can finally do household chores well and wants to do them.  Treasure this millisecond, remember it, because it might one day be the only reason that you do not sell your teenager to a witch doctor to use as spare parts.

3. I can do any chore, I could be very helpful but I am not going to do a single damn thing.

After the magical stage it is all down hill.  It becomes easier to do hand stands and cook with your feet than to get your child to do anything at all.  You will beg, bribe, cry, scream and eventually go stir crazy but your child will just sigh and say, "Can't you see how busy I am?"  This stage lasts for the rest of the time that your child is home.

So getting back to Mila's visit she is in stage 2.

Friday night was bliss, she wanted something to do and I suggested that she play with my hair.  I tried this before when Jess was home but my evil child grabbed Mila and said,

"Child slave labour is illegal, Mila don't let Aunty Viv fool you come with me lets go do something REALLY fun."

Fortunately Jess was not home to interfere, besides it is not child slave labour, if the child is having fun.

I am kind, I even propped her arms up with pillows after two hours when she said she was getting tired.  Only kidding she only played with my hair for three one hour.  I would never have bribed her with promises of gifts and treats if she continued.

The bribes gifts that I bought Mila this weekend did not work as I tried to convince her that we should make the swap  permanent.  Oh Well!


  1. Sounds like you had a super great weekend!

  2. Love this Vivian! I think I have a child in the 1st stage as well as the 2nd stage. However, the 8 yr old is starting to move into the 3rd stage from time to time. NOOO!!! Oh, and the playing with hair deal. My kids caught on that this was something I rather enjoyed and now it is a rarity in my house!

  3. There is a fourth stage that sometimes shows up when you have multiple children... It's the "I'm better than you and I can make mom love me more..." This is around the time the teenagers also want money, car keys, prom stuff, dates... if you work it right it is so good... I have supper cooked when I get home, a clean house, the trash is taken out, floors mopped, and grass cut. I was worried because my oldest will soon be graduating so I'm not sure how the competition will go once they leave for college, until my oldest daughter overheard my youngest son (age 12) ask if he could rub my feet when I got in from work the other night. As she screamed "What?!!!" in extreme outrage, I smiled,the baby has now entered the competition. Love it!!!

  4. I am so upset now Nicky, my eldest two competed regarding everything expect chores. I missed out. :-( The only time my youngest ever cleans up is when she is going somewhere because we have a rule that you cannot go out unless your bedroom is tidy.

  5. Leia please look at the above comment there is hope perhaps you can get your children to go into 4th stage.