Greetings from the Land Down Under. Or whatever it is they call New Zealand. Once I arrived at the airport on the appropriate day, I had no trouble checking in, flying fourteen hours, catching another plane, flying an hour, being picked up by handsome and charming son-in-law then driving an hour through a mountain pass to arrive and see this view.
Big, brown-eyed Percy.
I was totally prepared for it to take a few days for Percy to warm up to me. I came with a pile of books to win him over. Turns out, I didn’t need to wait or bring books. Within ten minutes we were buddies. Here he is, helping to put the groceries away.
Percy is fiercely independent. No surprise there. What is amazing is the life skills he has developed at not even two years old. Adalia and Ben allow Percy to be involved in all household and outdoor activities that are safe for a toddler.
He isn’t a kid who is shuffled off to a pile of toys. He is a child who is welcomed into what ever work or household activity is going it. It makes me so happy to see Percy being raised the same way I raised his mom and her siblings.
I really had no choice but to have my toddlers in the kitchen with me. Even before she could walk the only way I could work in the kitchen was to have Adalia on the counter next to me. I always had a drawer and cupboard that was reserved for my children and Percy has his own drawer in the kitchen as well. I would hand my toddler a spatula and allow them to “help”.
Right now, while I am in New Zealand for three weeks, thirteen year old Tucker is in charge of fixing dinner. I have some meals in the freezer and he knows how to cook from scratch. His job is to plan for dinner the night ahead, pull anything out of the freezer that needs to thaw, and get dinner on the table.
This afternoon I watched Percy, 20 months old, crack an egg into a bowl, carefully removing every bit of shell and drop the bits into the garbage.
Adalia gave Percy a fork and he carefully beat the eggs.
Once the eggs were beat with cream and salt and pepper added, Adalia cooked it and then Percy sat in his high chair and contentedly ate the meal he helped prepare.
And Percy beamed with pride at a job well-done.
“The essence of independence is to be able to do something for one’s self.”
― Dr. Maria Montessori
Don’t be afraid to teach your toddler life skills! A child’s work is their play and they will be so much happier when they know they are contributing to the family.