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Solid Citizen

We have entered the era of “helping,” as Simon now wants to help Matt and me in all matter of chores.

Sometimes, his help is actually helpful. When Simon wants to pick up toys, put laundry in a basket, carry things to the table, or put handfuls of leaves in lawn bags, he is indeed a helpful boy.

Other times, his help is neutral. That is to say, it doesn’t really help me any, but I applaud the interest and don’t let on that he’s not 100% up to the job. Say, for example, when he helps wipe off a table or wash himself. He can’t do the job on his own, but I try not to let him see that. This means I end up furtively finishing a job when he’s not looking (wiping off the table) or coming up with a silly excuse to re-do a job (brushing his teeth).

And then there is work-causing help. This assistance has to be supported lest I undermine any future desire to help on his part, but it can be a real drag. When Simon wants to help cook, I have to figure out something he can do that won’t ruin our food or cause him bodily harm. When Simon wants to rake leaves, he usually spreads them out even more, but at least it gives me time outside to get the job done. Plus, little kids with rakes are ridiculously cute.

Last but not least—in fact last but most unfortunate—is Simon’s new self-imposed role as a one-boy litter removal service. The kid hates litter. We taught him to hate litter, hoping the message would stick and he’d never be the type to throw garbage out the window of a moving car when he’s sixteen. What I did not foresee was that the result of this civics lesson would be Simon handing me any and all manner of refuse left on the street, sidewalks, curbs, and parks of my, as it turns out, not-so-fair city.

He has handed me fast-food bags. Empty bottles. Broken glass from the same. Partially consumed, discarded suckers. Condom wrappers. (Thankfully, not the contents of the same….). And  perhaps my least favorite: cigarette butts. Each of these items is presented to me with extreme urgency.

“Mamma! Mamma! Mamma! What’s that? Here you go. Let’s go throw it away.”

When there isn’t a garbage can nearby, I have to stuff the garbage into a bag or pocket until we find one. When no pocket or bag is available, I have to just carry whatever disgusting detritus he has handed me. It’s nasty. But I have no idea how to explain to Simon that while littering is W-R-O-N-G, sometimes mommy just doesn’t feel like cleaning up.

For anyone out there wondering what to get Simon for the holidays, might I suggest one of those clamps on the stick that allows you to pick up litter without touching anything?

One Response to “Solid Citizen”

  1. Amanda says:

    Jess, you need to start carrying old plastic grocery bags in your pockets. Like people have for pooper-scooping for their dogs. Or in this case, Simon.

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