Sometimes, Norton can annoy me. Sometimes when he annoys me, it’s because he’s trying so hard to be a helpful preschooler… and it just doesn’t work. That realization is crucial to my ongoing attempts at being a better mom. Like the most recent “helpful preschooler” incident…
This morning I posted my first Train Track Tuesday post in a while. I just hadn’t been able to sit down and really build a nice layout that we can have fun with. Usually, it’s either because Norton’s room isn’t clean enough for me to want to be in there and build or because Eudora is “helping” by being The Destroyer of Worlds. (Read: Eudora is knocking things over and making it impossible to build.)
Norton came up to me the other day and said, “Build twain?” I told him no. His room was, as far as I was concerned, gross. And it smelled ripe because he’d peed on the floor for what felt like the thousandth time that week. (Yes, I spot clean the carpet with my Bissell SpotClean, but still.) I was not going to sit down on his floor and build until I’d finished shampooing his carpet, cleaning the walls, and giving it a thorough “stem to stern” clean up.
Norton, however, is not one to accept “no.” If there’s a reason behind it, he will try to solve the problem and convert a “no” to a “yes.” Since Mommy thought his room smelled yucky, it only made sense to him to fix it. My helpful preschooler grabbed the stain treater from the bathroom cabinet and doused his room. Heavily. He sprayed the walls. He sprayed the furniture. (Just an FYI: Baby OxiClean spray can take the finish off of furniture.) He sprayed the floor.
Needless to say, I was not impressed. My first inclination was to yell. Honestly, did he have any idea how long it would take me to clean this up?
Then it dawned on me: in Norton’s own way, he was being a helpful preschooler boy. Using three year old logic, if something smells, you make it not smell by spraying stuff that doesn’t stink. I didn’t yell. I just put the spray away and told him not to use it again before cleaning it up.
And then? I got his room immaculate. And we were able to build train tracks for playtime again.
Have you ever had a moment when you started to be angry with your child and then realized that it was an attempt at help?