Meri was helping me put up Christmas decorations. As I stood on a chair, hammer in hand, she passed me the tacks I was using to hold up the fairy lights. She watched me intently as I gently tapped them into the dado rail.
“You know, you’re really being helpful Meri. You are a genuine help.” I beamed to her as I stepped down off the chair and put the hammer down on the table and went to get a cup of tea for a job well done.
Both my kids are at that point where they are desperate to help Daddy out with whatever I am doing. I’m enjoying it whilst it lasts conscious of the fact that all too soon they will be surly teenagers as likely to take me to the European Court of Human Rights as help me unload the shopping from the car.
Arun has suddenly developed a real urge to help load and unload the dishwasher. Now, this may sound like a fraught exercise that will only end up in broken crockery strewn over the kitchen floor, but to his credit, he hasn’t dropped a single plate or glass yet. He carefully picks each item out of the dishwasher and hands it to me to put away with an earnest and good natured, “Thank you!” It really does make unloading the crockery quicker and easier.
He has also taken to loading the wash basket with dirty clothes. The problem is that Arun doesn’t know the difference between dirty and clean, ironed clothes. So on Saturday, he took several of Clare’s tops which were waiting to be put away and dumped them into the wash-basket. Only, it wasn’t the wash basket, it was the sink in the loft bathroom. On seeing some clothes lying around Arun figured they must be dirty. Given that the wash basket is on the first floor and he was on the second floor he figured that putting them in the sink was a good compromise. Just like the time he put Clare’s dirty trainers in the washing machine and like the time he tidied a red wax crayon into the tumble dryer (anyone know how to get hot wax out of cotton clothes?).
Similarly, Meri is a mean hand at tidying up and wants to be involved in whatever you are doing from baking muffins to checking the air pressure on the car tyres. However, just like Arun she is a help and a hindrance in equal measures. Take for example what happened next with the Christmas decorations:
As the kettle was boiling I heard a tapping from the dining room. It rapidly became a bit of a banging and so I went back in to find Meri standing next to the stereo holding a tack in her hand trying to bang it into the digital radio tuner. Thankfully, not with the hammer.
“What on earth do you think you are doing?” I asked her, amazement and exasperation writ large in my voice.
She just looked at me and cocked her head as if I were asking some sort of trick question.
“Helping Daddy,” she said.