On the farm my Dad had a hired hand until my brothers were old enough to take on the bigger responsibilities and operate the heavy machinery. These hired hands were paid and provided with room and board (as if my mom didn't have enough mouths to feed).
My little hired hand is paid in lots of tickles, hugs and kisses.
At little E's 18 month check up I was surprised that one of the nurses questions on her milestones checklist was, "Does he help out around the house?" I was proud to answer "YES" but, I hadn't really thought about it before that.
We have a really good routine going of cleaning up his toys and putting them back in the toy box before bed, putting things in the garbage and putting his dishes in the sink. Yeah, he really does help out!
Months ago he learned to place his sippy cup on the counter or table when he was done with it. He would ask for his water or milk, suck it back with a huge gulp and then gently place it on the counter (or smash it down on the table - depending on his mood) and then carry on. My Hubby's 80 year old grandmother, Nanny, gushes over how polite he is when we visit her. We are so proud.
He is great at picking up garbage or things that have fallen on the floor. When I'm getting meals ready and a sliced vegetable hits the floor its a race between little E and the dog - although the dog has alternative motives.
A couple weeks ago after returning home from the library we sat on the living room floor pulling all the books out of our library bag. When the paper library slip fell out he immediately picked it up, ran to the kitchen and dropped it in the garbage. While I fished it back out to post on the fridge I still had to commend him for being a good little boy.
His favourite way to help mommy is in the laundry room. He steps up on the stool to peek inside while the water is running. Then I prop him up to sit on the side of the washing machine (while my hand grips his ankle for fear of him falling in ) and hand him articles of clothing to drop in. When the machine is full he proudly closes the door with a big smile as if saying "My job here is done."
I'm so proud of my little hired hand but I'm slowly seeing this eagerness to help out diminish. I'm not sure how long it will take him to rebel (I'm assuming the closer we get to the terrible two's) but, all I know is that I'm going to take advantage of it as longs as it lasts and pay out my end of the deal no matter what!