Just do it

Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Some things just need doing. The groceries. The laundry. The dishes. Crap like that. I expect E to help since I am pretty confident that that is the best way to raise a child who pitches in around the house and doesn't demand payment for measly chores. And whenever I've been tempted to do it myself (easier, faster, cleaner) I stop, look at him and think, "No, you're part of this family and dad goes to work and I stay at work and you, you set the table and feed the birds and help in the garden and unload the dishwasher. I'm doing us all a favor by patiently teaching you how to unload the silverware. It's expected and non-negotiable and a deep breath and go." I capitalize on the fact that as a two year old he wants to help and trust that later on chores will be another one of the things he just does, like brushing his teeth and tormenting his sister.


We're at Costco and we are standing in the receipt-checking line with the front door in sight. B is starting to suck on my shirt at oh, about where my nipple would be if I was about 10 years younger and sans-breast-fed children. I start to run out of "it." That "it" that would make waiting in line to have your receipt checked fun. Mostly I am trying to bounce and shush B and make eye contact with E so that he doesn't get too squirrelly, especially since the case of wine I just bought is precariously perched and I'll be damned if I have to go back and buy a whole new case of wine with a screaming baby (I'll do it - but I'll be damned all the while.)

It is finally our turn and as I approach the two checker-outers, I go with my gut. Although I don't recognize her, the lady on the right seems to be the most promising. E hands over the food receipt. He waits with bated breath. And she does not disappoint. She counts off our items and before handing back the slip of paper, she flips it over and scribbles something on the back.

With a sharp intake of breath, E looks up at me. "Mom," he whispers. "It's a smiley face balloon. It's a smiley face. And. A. BALLOON!" He looks over at the woman and yells, "I like it! I very like it!"
The Costco employee looks over at me, her eyes sparkling. "It always amazes me how much they love that kind of stuff."
"Thank you," I say to her as I watch E try to suck the smiling balloon in through his eyeballs. "You totally made his day."

We cross the parking lot wordlessly. I load the car and when I move E from the grocery cart to his carseat, crumpled up in his little boy hand is the receipt. "It's a smiley face balloon," E says to me, so earnest.
"I know, sweetheart. Isn't it great?"
"It is, mom. It's the best smiley face balloon I've ever seen. I love it. And I'm gonna put it on the table when we get home so that I can see it some more."

I buckle him in and walk around the car. I sweep B out of her carrier and into her car seat. Safely buckled in, I lean over and give her a kiss, something I always did with E when he was in the baby car seat, too. As I got behind the wheel, I look up and see E's reflection in the mirror. He is still staring at the receipt. My eyes get a little damp, grateful for the sweet reminder that although my special little guy is growing up - big enough to set the table, big enough to water the clover seed we'd spread in the yard, big enough to go upstairs, poop, wipe and wash his hands before I'd even realized he'd gotten up from the breakfast table - that he is still very much a little boy. A little boy who very likes smiley face balloons.

1 comments to Just do it:

mom2boy said...

Aww, I very like that story!!

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