My husband had to have emergency eye surgery last week. Everything is fine, although he has to keep his head down (literally, with only three fifteen minute upright breaks a day) for 10 days. With three little ones, I thought it would be for the best if I shipped him off to his parents to recuperate.
Needless to say, being a solo parent is hard work. The other day I got frustrated with Harris and when he asked me if I could play Lego with him, I snapped: I can’t play anything because I need to clean up this GIANT mess! When it was time for bed that night, Harris managed to talk his way into sleeping in our bedroom. To be fair, I was so exhausted I didn’t want to fight it, plus I thought to myself: How much longer will my son want to cuddle up with me? At any rate, Harris (who is 5) promptly snuggled his way under the covers on Paul’s side of the bed.
After a moment or so the monologue began. It went something like this:
Mom, you know how you always have to take care of three kids? Well I am going to sleep in this bed until he gets back, and then you will only have two kids to take care of because I will be your helper. Hey, do you want to clean up that big mess right now? I can help you. I really can. And when Dad’s away, I will be your big helper.
I’m not sure if he was using the clean up suggestion as a procrastination technique, but I think he was also sincere in his desire to help out. Five-year-olds can be mighty attached to their parents and can also have a strong desire to be seen as competent. It was truly a sweet, genuine, moment. As was the next morning when he announced that he didn’t think he should go to Kindergarten that day because we had some work to do: Mom, I really think we should clean up this room. It’s been a long time since the Roomba has gone in here. And we’ve still got that giant mess waiting for us.
I warned my husband on the phone that his place was being usurped by Harris, and that when he returned there might be a battle for the position. Harris is taking his duties as “Mom’s Big Helper” very seriously. Yesterday I caught him chasing the twins around the living room with a spatula hollering: Babies! When Dad is away, I am Mom’s big helper which means I am the BOSS!
Oedipal, yet adorable. Only 6 more days to go.
Photo Credits: Shauna Townley Photography