Toddler Work

See this right here? This is a pile of towels folded by my 3 year old girl, Ziva. Let me tell you a bit about how we got here.

2 days ago it was a pile of towels I had folded but left out, which became a heap of messy, unfolded towels used as a bed for a doll. I was annoyed and felt overwhelmed by little bits of work in our long list of to-do’s being undone by my unaware toddler…

In the last week I realized that in the chaos of our house hunting and move I had failed to pay enough attention to Ziva’s changing needs. She’s no longer just our little girl, she’s a big girl who wants to be helpful and contribute to our family and home. She has been for a while, but recently we haven’t been keeping up with her ever growing and changing needs. She has been restless and destructive recently, which FINALLY woke us up.

Brian and I both started to request her “help” with tasks here and there. Carrying things to the car, packing things, and putting things away. Each task (when posed as needing her help) led to a happier, more relaxed, and proud toddler. On Tuesday she beamed as she announced all she had done all on her own because she’s “a really big girl, but still a little girl” as she put it.

Cut to this morning, after Brian had refolded the pile of towels, Ziva got busy unfolding and playing pretend with the whole stack all over again. I sighed, accepting defeat and turned back to my work. But a few minutes later Ziva called for my attention and I was gleefully surprised to see that she had refolded THE WHOLE PILE.

Really, I shouldn’t be surprised. She is learning so many wonderful practical world skills and self-care skills at school. It just took remembering to give her a little space and encouragement at home to open up this whole set of skills and possibilities.

So, this might just be a small pile of haphazardly folded towels, but to me it’s a sign that my big girl is growing up, and I couldn’t be more proud.