My mother has been telling me ever since Aerin was born that the best way I will survive the next two decades is by getting both girls to help me out as soon, and as often as possible.
Obviously this is still an unreasonable request to ask of Aerin, but now that Claire is walking — and growing more curious and precocious with each passing day — we have slowly begun to teach her little ways to help around the house, and with her little sister.
For example, yesterday as I was cleaning I made a little game of it by pointing out dirty spots, making an overly exaggerated disgusted face as I said, “더러워!” (“Dirty!” in Korean), then wiping up the dirt, showing her how the dirt was now on the paper towel and not on the floor, making another disgusted face as I pointed to the soiled paper towel, then throwing it away in the trash can. And every time a dirty spot disappeared I made a big spectacle of it by clapping and saying “Yay!!!” Soon, she caught up and wanted to help out too.
It goes without saying that she wasn’t much help — if anything, she slowed down my cleaning time significantly as I needed to wait for her to slowly and deliberately wipe, and go over the dirty spots myself again because she did not get everything — but just the fact that she wanted to help out, and was so proud of herself for doing so, made it all worthwhile.
It is also evident that Claire loves Aerin and wants to help out with her as much as possible, because she will almost always learn copperative activities on the first try, or the first time we ask. For example, the very first time that I made a bottle for Aerin and gave it to Claire, telling her “Go bring this to daddy so he can give it to your little sister,” she did it right away. And the very first time that we asked her to bring us one of Aerin’s diapers from the other room, she did that without hesitation too.
And heavens forbid that we even burp Aerin without her — every time that she hears the telltale “patting on the back” sound, she will practically run into the room and insist on burping her little sister too.
J rolled his eyes at me when I told him of our little cleaning game yesterday. “You’re not gonna turn our girls into neat freaks like you, are you?”
“Of course I am! Wouldn’t you rather have a clean house than a dirty one?”
I also like to remind him that whenever his mother plays with Claire, she always ends playtime by putting toys back in the toy box, so that Claire will know that that’s where they belong when they’re not being used.
I think Claire is definitely starting to catch on. Because now, whenever she sees a dirty tissue anywhere, she will pick it up and throw it in the trash.