Outside is Isobel’s favorite word, her favorite place, her favorite thing ever. As soon as she wakes up all she wants to talk about it outside. I tire of chasing her out of neighbors’ yards and coaxing her out of the street. I try instead to lure her into the backyard.
I’ve mentioned my backyard before. The grass back there is so prickly that it pokes your feet even if you lay a blanket down on top of it. And then there’s the pond. I would love to just let Isobel go and explore our yard but inevitably she’s drawn to the pond. Babies are danger magnets and I can’t wait till she’s at a less suicide-prone age.
We have a ritual every time we go to the backyard. Isobel loves to help me feed the fish, so the first thing she does is march over to the little cupboard and open it up. Then she grabs the container full of fish food. At this point she either hands it to me or carries it toward the pond herself.
I don’t let her get to close before I insist on picking her up. I put the fish food in my hand and she picks up each pellet, one by one, and drops it in the dirt. (She hasn’t learned how to throw yet.)
Then we go back to the patio area and she grabs an empty watering can and helps me ‘water the plants.’
She also loves to mimic me in the kitchen. She has a downright fondness for the dishwasher. It might be more accurate to call it her obsession. If the door is open she marches right over and starts unloading the silverware container, whether or not it’s clean or dirty. She’ll get a bunch in her little fist and hand it to me saying, “Thank you!”
We’ve taken to packing any sharp knives we have in the top dishwasher rack and we put spoons in the front where she’s most likely to grab. Today she didn’t just help me unload the silverware, she added one of her toys to the dish rack. Apparently it’s was dirty.
At some point when we have the dishwasher open we attract kittens. I don’t know if it’s the smell from the food or the fact that it has the baby’s attention, but more than once I’ve had to pull a stripy furry body out of the dishwasher.
She imitates things we say now, too, and I’ve quit trying to keep up with her vocabulary. If she hers a phone ring or a bell sound, without missing a beat she says, “Hello? Hello?” The other day the first thing I said to Isobel was, “Hi, baby!” To which she enthusiastically responded, “Hi, baby!”
I’m so thrilled she loves to imitate me. It’s like I have my own Mini Me that does CHORES. Sure, right now she’s too little, but think of the future! She loves watering plants and doing dishes! Next we’re going to show her how to mow the lawn.
She also likes to hold the cord while we vacuum. I know luck this good can’t last.
Here she is helping me clear the dishwasher. She says ‘thank you’ as she hands each utensil to me.