And among other things, the lesson I learned is this:

There’s a fine line between

thanking a toddler to encourage the repetition of a helpful task in the future
thanking a toddler to encourage the repetition of a helpful task IN THAT VERY MOMENT, ultimately making the helpful task an unhelpful one.

I’m not even sure if I’ve phrased this right, so let me give you an example of what I’m talking about:

Example:  Toddler assisting with younger sibling’s diaper change.

Me:  Nory, could you please get a diaper from the drawer for sister?

Nory:  (retrieves diaper) Here you go, Mommy!!!

Me:  (super happily) Thank you so much, Nory!  You’re such a big help!

Nory:  (continues to retrieve diaper after diaper from the drawer, placing them on the bed where I’m changing Juliet)  Here you go!  Here you go!  Here you go!  Here you go! (with the utmost enthusiasm)

You see, in this instance, a task that was initially deemed as a helpful one (ah-hem, retrieving ONE DIAPER), was turned into a completely UNHELPFUL one, because in addition to having one fresh and clean baby, we also had a pile of unnecessary diapers on our bed that needed to be put away.

So here’s my point:  Was my thank you too much?  Should I have taken out the “so”?  Should I have cut it after sentence number one?  Should I have responded to her assistance with “thank you” – full stop?  Or should I have laughed at the mountain of diapers beside me and bank on the magic of the “clean-up song” (and My Toddler, Cooperative Edition) to set things straight? 

I chose the latter option.  With a side of reflection. With a plan to, MOVING FORWARD, use a level of expression and word choice that takes the whole “YOU ARE THE BEST CHILD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD FOR GETTING ME A DIAPER” out of the equation.  Unless I’m super exhausted.  And she’s acting like a Nornado.  And I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY need to get her back on MY SIDE to survive the rest of the day.  

Ha!  Fine lines, tight-rope walking and survival.  Living and learning over here ;)

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