For the second week in a row, “Tacklerism Tuesday” has a special guest poster: CG aka Mr. Fix-It aka The Daddy.
“Mr. Potato Head.”
“Mr. Potato Head who?”
“…. YOU! BWAHAHAHA!”
The Tackler (who shall be dubbed “The Helper” for this post) has learned the “knock knock” joke phenomenon. Get out of the way Dane Cook and Chris Rock – a new punster is in town! Okay, maybe a more apt comparison would be Paul Reubens.
When a Four Year Old Believes Yard Work to Be Fun
After being sent to Candyland purgatory several times on Sunday, I took The Helper outside to do some yard work. He had been looking forward to it all day and kept asking:
“When is Mommy going to take care of baby sister so we can do yard work?”
I’m sure mommy has a parenthetical expression to put here to explain herself, so I’ll let her do so. (Mommy note: It was laundry day, and Lil Diva’s method of “helping” is shoving clothing through the railing slats so it falls to the first floor.)
The challenge when giving a four-year old yard chores is to keep it at a level he can actually be productive, or at least not destructive to your efforts. I had him start with the deck and a shop broom. With little guidance, he took care of piling up the copious amount of leaves on the deck (we lose leaves in what most people would call winter and in spring), and immediately asked for more work.
Well, specifically, The Helper wanted to water the plants “so they will grow.” I didn’t really want him to start watering yet because that would make my job of raking the leaves out of the garden areas more messy and difficult. I told him that we had to get the leaves out first so that the water would get to the roots faster.
So we moved from where I was working to the back garden. We have a small flagstone walkway that bisects our garden in the backyard. So to keep things at an effort level that would work for someone who is half my size, I started raking the leaves out of the garden into the walkway for him to broom out onto the lawn.
He happily gobbled this up, and discovered how to move the leaves most efficiently (he isn’t strong enough to drag the broom over the leaves, but he is strong enough to push them). He figured this out on his own, and I wasn’t inclined to intervene as long as he was busy and not frustrated.
Better for The Helper to take too much time and learn something than for him to be done and get into something.
When we had mostly finished the leaves, he went in for a drink and I set up the hose for him. With a little coaching, he worked judiciously watering the plants (and trees, because the Cat in the Hat visited a thirsty tree recently, and apparently knew something about that). Other than interruptions to help get some more hose unreeled, he was able to operate independently for quite some time with the hose while I collected and mulched leaves.
However, what comes next is what is inevitable when dealing with a four-year old and a hose: someone is going to get drenched.
Luckily for him, I expected this, and was mentally prepared for a soaked child. Several times he tried to drink from the spray attachment on the hose, with shirt soaking results. Then he decided to wash his feet, but failed to consider the direction the spray nozzle was pointed before pulling the trigger. His feet were washed, but his pants were now soaked.
Shortly after this, Mommy dropped the monitor off for Lil Diva and scolded us for getting wet. (Mommy note: I was not mentally prepared for this, calculating how long it would take to scrub the favorite shirt he wore). Within seconds she was gone to the gym, and seconds later, the radio modulated screams of waking up ended our productive day in the back.
We decided to have a burrito dinner with Grandma G. When we returned, Mommy was back from her gym class, so I dropped off Lil Diva and took The Helper out for an errand – to Target.
We picked up supplies for our next big project: waxing the cars. I figure that as long as he is into washing the cars, it is a productive way to keep him busy and get something useful done.
And he is amused by the whole idea of “Turtle Wax”.
While there, I made the mistake of going by the toy aisle. He was pretty good about it, and only had one toy he wanted to check out: the Joker’s funhouse. He has been on a DC Superfriends kick since he started doing a computer game that features them.
I’m pretty sure he identifies more with the villains because he worried the Superfriends are being mean by locking up The Joker in jail and smashing his robots.
Could it be that my son innately recognizes the idea that “Evil” isn’t some ridiculous, one-dimensional idea personified in universally reviled characters?
Or does he just think that someone who cackles just like he does couldn’t be all that bad…?
CG is the Computer God/Guru of the house. When he isn’t off being a software engineer, he can be found fixing the countless household objects/appliances/toys that break under Murphy’s Law. He also stars as The Favorite Parent and Person to Be Tackled/Climbed/Jumped.