I just got off the phone with one of my dearest friends, who happens to have an (almost) five-year-old daughter. Said daughter does things like label their toys with Sharpie so that they don’t get lost or stolen by shady 2yo’s at the park. Another good friend, who also has an adorably pigtailed four-year-old lass, tells me about how her child does not like it if toys are misplaced and so goes around the house putting things “back,” (I thought that was a mythical concept!) and a third friend has an angel of a tot residing in her abode who actually Chlorox Wipes down surfaces for fun.
After this phone call I speak of, I openly wept as I stared down at the Go Lean Crunch littering my Ikat living room rug. To be fair, my (almost) three-year-old boy is not the messiest kid on the planet, and he’s frankly quite picky about where certain objects live in our house (“that lamp doesn’t go in there, it goes in Mommy and Daddy’s room!” — so much for my spontaneous remodeling attempts). But other than furniture placement, the particulars of his meticulousness seem to mainly be focused on trains (as in, BUILD THAT DOUBLE MOUNTAINED TUNNEL RIGHT NOW PLEASE USING THOSE TWO CURVY TRACKS, MOMMY!) and not so much with sippy cups (there’s a trail of them all around our house, much like Hansel and Gretel’s infamous bread crumbs. And sometimes there’s even a trail of little droplets of milk. Which I go around cleaning up with the toe of my sock so I don’t have to bend down seven months pregnant).
After I dried my tears and reminded myself that even though my son doesn’t keep his trains neatly lined up in a row, he’s stinking CUTE, I started doing some serious thinking. Sure, I could use a babysitter or assistant or, let’s face it, a wife to help me around the house, especially as we gear up for Baby #2 (who couldn’t?), but a cheaper, more malleable solution might be for me to borrow your 5yo daughter on a part-time, flex basis. I may not have won the angelic firstborn girl lottery, but that doesn’t mean I can’t benefit from the fact that you did. Will your daughter boss my kid around and tell him not to drop that food on the floor? Perfect. Can she inform him that he didn’t eat all his veggies and also force him to carefully put away his trains every night before bed, lest a monster come in the night and steal them away for ever or at least until he’s ready to be a productive member of society? CHECK. Can she make sure he’s properly buckled in his car seat, force him to sing Barbie movie songs in the backseat, and monitor his snack consumption while I’m making a left turn to ensure he isn’t choking on a cheddar bunny? Awesome. (Side note: If she does cleaning and/or dishes, or even if she can just fetch a diaper for the new baby arriving in November while my older kiddo builds a train track out of empty butt cream containers, that’d be great.)
Another friend recently forwarded me a study that says the happiest families have two daughters. The next happiest have a boy and a girl (I’m guessing older girl, though that’s just conjecture since this extremely scientific essay didn’t go into specifics about birth order), and the third happiest families have two boys. After that, things seem to take a turn in the other direction (sorry, families of 4+ girls. According to this random Swedish study that is probably based on pop science and no actual data or facts, you’re screwed. But not till the teenage years, so breathe deep: most of you have time).
Anyway, I can totally see it. I mean, my kiddo is categorically adorable. The fact that he insisted on wearing his shoes on the wrong feet ALL AFTERNOON yesterday, driving the left (or is it the right?) side of my brain close to madness, is totally endearing, right? He even likes to do laundry; he just thinks his paint-stained Cat in the Hat shirt can be washed, dried, and returned to his body in less than four minutes. I don’t think even Martha Stewart can pull that off, but tell that to my monster, I mean toddler.
But my kiddo’s still an (almost) 3yo boy. And your kiddo is a 4+ girl who could really be a lifesaver to me right now, so here’s what I propose: send her over for an afternoon or two a week. Let’s see how quickly she can whip my house and my kid into shape. I’d love it if she gave lectures on the proper dressing of dolls or could teach my son all the lyrics to “Do you Wanna Build a Snowman?” If she can even show him how fascinating it is to help momma diaper a baby, I might actually stop having nightmares about the arrival of Kiddo #2. (The example baby doesn’t have to be a baby doll; Leo’s generic Curious George-but-not will suffice). The job requires a certain amount of flexibility, so if she isn’t willing to do countertops, we’ll have to see.
Oh, in case you’re wondering: the bossier your daughter, the better. Every time she reminds my kid it’s “clean up” time, she’ll get an Elsa sticker. And even if you happen to have a 5yo son who says things like, “forks are for eating, not for playing,” I’d consider him for the position, too.
Thanks in advance,