Paul told me he needed work laundry done, so I headed downstairs after he went to school to throw his clothes in. I brought K with me because he likes to help, and if I didn't bring him, he'd be into everything up here.
Eight months pregnant and carrying a hamper, I try to explain to him that he is going to have to go down the steps by himself just holding my hand. He wants to be held because he doesn't like to step on the cat food he just found so amusing to throw down the stairs.
When I finally get him downstairs, I open the dryer door and put a laundry basket in front, and watch as he pulls everything out of the dryer and flings it behind him across the room.
I help him get everything in the basket, and then start to put stuff from the washer into the dryer. He can't really help with this one because it's a top-loader. I have only thrown a couple of things in when the dryer starts to giggle and thank me after every handful. I reply, "you're welcome," finish emptying the washer, then unbury K from the damp clothes and pull him out of the dryer. I hand him a dryer sheet to put in, and then wince as he slams the door shut. I set him on top of the dryer so he can push the button to turn it on.
I start the washer filling, and then pour the detergent into the lid of the bottle and hand it over. This is where the kid really shines. You should see him standing on the rim, deftly pouring (nearly) all the liquid into the washer from three feet above it, expertly pouring in a circle around the central hub just like he's seen Mommy do hundreds of times. I have to remind him to move his toes before he slams the lid down. He can't always remember which way to turn the cap to get it back on the bottle, so I have to help, or we'd be there forever as he turned it first one way, then the other.
Back upstairs, we settle down to fold. He picks up a shirt and holds it sideways. He's great at shaking out the wrinkles, but that's all. His "folded" clothes end up as rumpled piles strewn about the room. Some of mine get thrown at me and have to be re-folded. I dig furiously in the basket for the used dryer sheet and hand it over for him to throw away. I use his absence to quickly finish folding.
Anything not put away right away becomes unfolded and worn as a hat as he returns from his mission, clapping for himself.
I cherish the time with my son because he won't always want to "help mommy." He won't always be this cute, either. And hopefully, he's learning something about how, um, not to do laundry, how to be a helper, how to work with a smile. I love my kid. I can't imagine how boring the laundry -and life!- would be without him.