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There is a Banana in My Dishwasher

The other day I was wondering what I do with the twelve-plus hours a day that I am awake. I couldn't pinpoint even one activity that consistently happens every day. Cooking? No, I can't honestly say that I cook every day. Oh yes, we eat, but many days we have pieced together meals that require little preparation. Laundry? I wish it happened daily - even weekly would mean that my daughter might have matching socks some days. Office work? Take one look at the piles on my desk and you'll know the answer to that one. Time with my husband? I wish. Reading to my children? I am getting better at that one. Cleaning my house? No, I pay a teenager to do that. Errands? I hate them - we go out one day a week, two is the maximum. Exercise? Ha!

Other than reading to my children, I couldn't think of any one thing that I engaged in on a regular basis - so where was my time going? That's when I saw it. The banana in my dishwasher. Half-peeled, sitting in the silverware tray. What is that doing there? I thought as I pulled it out, wondering whether to toss it in the trash or save it for banana bread. Then, my two-year-old son walked over and said, "That's mine," and took it from my hand.

"Did you put it in the dishwasher?" I asked him.

"Yes," he replied.

"Why?" I asked (silly question).

"It's yucky," he assured me.

Next, he reached into the dishwasher and grabbed a wooden spoon that was still covered with chocolate-zucchini cake batter and started banging it against a kitchen chair, sending cake batter splattering all over the walls. "Ahhh!" I exclaimed as I grabbed it from his hand. "Messy, very messy," I instructed him. He simply smiled a very accomplished smile at me and moved into the living room where he had a small saucepan sitting on top of the humidifier fan.

"I cook corn," he exclaimed, "look Mom." At that, he lifted the pan lid to reveal a steamy pot of corn - disguised as an empty pan, of course.

"Want some?" he added.

I sank into the couch. How did he get the humidifier out here from the bedroom? Did he spill water all the way down the hall? A quick glance confirmed my fear and I jumped up to amend the situation.

"Look Timothy, there is water spilled in the hall. Can you help me clean it up?"

"Okay, Mom." he replied.

Thirty minutes later, after a cooperative mopping of the hall and a session of throwing all the towels (some clean and some dirty) down the laundry chute, I was finally back in the kitchen trying to remember where I had left off. Let's see, I was out here doing something - ah yes - I was loading the dishwasher and wondering what I do with my time every day. Now I know - I live vicariously through the life of little children, and what a wonderful day it can be when I embrace it as such.

Reprinted with permission from The Nurturing Parent Journal, an international journal to encourage healthy parent-child relationships through attachment parenting practices.