JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools

pictures and stories from the water’s edge

JulieLeung.com: a life told in tidepools header image 2

The joy of a job

November 30th, 2003 · 2 Comments

Elisabeth’s been cranky a lot this past week. Perhaps she’s cutting a tooth. Or maybe its her runny nose from her cold that’s making her miserable. Whatever it is, she seems to be frequently fussy. She wants me to hold her, and if I have to put her down to do something else, she lets me know how upset she is.

In the mornings, after breakfast, Abigail, Michaela and I each have jobs to do. Michaela and I sweep the floor. I clean the dishes while Abigail unloads the dishwasher.

One morning this week, Elisabeth was fussing at my feet, wanting me to pick her up instead of scrubbing the dishes from breakfast. I tried to comfort her, telling her I’d pick her up when I could, but I did need to get some work done.

But then Elisabeth discovered the dishwasher filled with sparkling clean utensils. Soon she was helping Abigail, picking up a spoon or fork handle and giving it to big sister to put away in the drawer. The two sisters made a team. And Elisabeth stopped crying. She started smiling instead!

Again, I found this principle at work in the afternoon as I was folding laundry upstairs. Elisabeth was fussing, wanting me to play with her. But then she began taking items from the laundry basket and giving them to me to fold. We worked together, having fun!

This morning Elisabeth again helped Abigail with the silverware. She also helped with the dishes too, until Ted and I stopped her, after she dropped a plate. She’s too little to be handling big plates and bowls by herself. Elisabeth has always loved the dishwasher, even climbing up on it, although as a microbiologist mom, I’ve tried to keep her away from it when it’s dirty. But this new job is perfect for her fascination with the dishes and washer.

I was amazed at how much little Elisabeth wanted to help. She wanted to have a job just like everyone else. And I was amazed at how working changed her whining. She went from crying and fussing to smiling and laughing. The joy of a job! If only I could find such wonder and attitude in my own work!

Tags: Uncategorized

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 emily // Dec 1, 2003 at 1:03 pm

    very encouraging to hear you have regular family jobs. We are wanting the same for our family. Jobs do give a sense of importance and belonging to the living community, don’t you agree? And hooray for Elisabeth joyfully joining in. Too often the little ones say, “Let me help!”, but we don’t let them. And then they hit adolescence and don’t want to help anymore but that’s when we ask them to. I remind myself to stop and listen and give a few extra minutes to teach how to help when they jump excitedly about washing sippy cups or peeling carrots.

  • 2 Katherine // Dec 1, 2003 at 5:18 pm

    So you use your dishwasher now!