As parents, we generally delight in every newfound skill we teach our children. Every milestone dutifully recorded and preserved for the future. How many hours of video footage do we have of babies lying on their backs (doing not much of anything) in the hopes that we capture their first roll on film?
However, the older they get, I'm discovering an increasing number of skills I wish they hadn't learned - at least not yet...
Helping With The Laundry is, for inexplicable reasons, one of the most favored chores in the house. It trails only Taking Out The Garbage in popularity (clearly, we need to develop some more interesting family activities...). I let the kids pull the wet clothes from the washer and shove them into the dryer. If they're really lucky, they even get to be the one to toss in the fabric softener sheet!
Somehow, it never occurred to me though that they'd actually master the skills needed to operate the machines without assistance. Why do I ever underestimate them like this?! The other day I asked Bonnie to bring her jeans downstairs so I could help her put them on. It took her a while and when she handed them to me, they were WARM - because she'd had them in the dryer! When I went up there, I found Blue Baby (who holds Most Favored Toy status in our house) in the dryer, because she "needed to get clean." If she's mastered the dryer, surely the washer can't be far off...
And buckles... The high chair serves as our timeout chair. This is mainly because of the secure seat-belt, complete with a buckle device that ensures time-outs last the exact number of minutes as the time-outee's age. Except, they recently figured out that with teamwork, they can undo this. Bonnie was recently placed in a timeout (for refusing to stop dancing on top of a glass console table...). She started calling for Clyde to come help her. He toddled over and the two of them managed to spring her from her sentence. I was stunned and terrified - that's a very secure buckle. Can baking a nail file into a cake be far off?
Oh yes, and while we're on the topic of Skills We Don't Want Them to Learn Just Yet - what is up with that Melissa and Doug puzzle-thing that teaches kids how to unfasten any lock on the market? What were the good people at that company thinking?! Yes, please develop a single toy that will teach my child how to undo every safety latch in my house, thank you. I mean, I already keep my makeup in a lock box due to an unfortunate incident with my mascara and about six feet of wall space (because Bonnie could negotiate the "child latch" on my makeup drawer...), now I'm going to need to trade it in for one with a combination lock?!
Sometimes I long for less inquisitive children.