The Nugget Chronicles: A Closed Door Policy

As Nugget has been nearing her second birthday, she’s been looking to take on more responsibility around the house. In some ways, this means that she’s finally fulfilling the perfect reason to have children; to get them to do the jobs that parents don’t want to do. Naturally, my instincts strayed right towards mowing the lawn and weeding the flower beds. That was the moment that I remembered that a) she isn’t even two years old yet, and b) they are jobs that I can do just fine, even if I don’t want to. Besides, it’ll build character, right?

Now, because we’ve wanted to make sure that Nugget actually DOES feel like she’s contributing around the house, we’ve given her some small tasks that she has been helping out with. She’s been tasked to largely put away her own books and toys, which serves to let her feel that she’s helping keep the place clean, and means that there are fewer things for me to step on in the middle of the night. The other primary job that Nugget has taken on has been to help with feeding the dog every night. Truth be told, she LOVES this job, and, even though there are many nights where either Mama or I will assist her in part of the ritual, most of the time it’s all Nugget. It gives her a sense of accomplishment, and also allows her to point out that the dog is eating, which she knows means that she will soon be eating. Given her overall love of food, that pretty much means that the dog’s dinner is mere minutes away from one of her favorite moments of the entire day.

Of course, when one is dealing with a toddler, one needs to realize that there are jobs you didn’t even realize that needed to be done. The most prevalent one in our household, apparently, is closing of doors. Not bedroom doors, of course. That would be somewhat logical (although we do tend to keep bedroom doors open at least slightly, so that might explain why they remain so). Sometimes the bathroom door gets closed, but that’s really hit or miss (side note: “hit or miss” is probably the worst phrase to use with regards to the bathroom, especially with a toddler). No, the doors that get closed all of the time are the pantry doors.

On one hand, this makes sense. The pantry doors are directly in Nugget’s general path, and they are closed except when we’re actively doing something with the items within them. The problem comes up when we’re, you know trying to actively do something with those items. Not that it’s really that big of a deal for us, the adults in the house, to open the pantry door again. Honestly, it’s more of an amusement than anything else, because Nugget also has the immaculate timing of closing the door JUST before we get back to grab another needed item, or put something away. The prime example is when I am making her sandwich for lunch… I get the bread out, and take it to a cutting board to start prepping the sandwich itself. After removing the individual slices, I reseal the bread and make a move to put it away. Before I cross the kitchen, Nugget swings the doors closed, and then stares at me when I reopen them, almost as though she’s wondering why on earth I would undo her handiwork.

This is seriously every day. And every time, I almost burst out laughing.

I don’t know quite why she has decided to obsess over this concept, or why she can’t quite wrap her head around the idea that the pull-out drawers need to be pushed back in before the doors can close, but it’s actually pretty cool that she’s taking this task on. It actually dovetails nicely into her job of picking up after herself, and there’s no way I’m going to stop her from taking this kind of initiative. Heck, she even helped close the dishwasher when I was just about ready to grab the silverware and put it away.

Clearly, my daughter is looking out for me. She wants to be sure that I don’t actually hurt myself through running into anything that could be cleared from the path. And she’s got a great sense of timing.

So, you know, one for two in comedy instincts.

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