Sippy cups. Milk bottles. Tiny spoons. Funky bowls and plates meant to make mealtime more fun. Last night’s nasty pan still reeking of salmon. Ad infinitum. Motherhood has changed many things in my life for the better but I can’t say I’m a fan of all this new sink time. And something weird has started happening now that my 20 month-old has started talking:
Whenever I try to walk away from the kitchen sink, he pushes me back toward it and says, “Mommy wash.” This gesture is gentle but firm, and I’m usually compelled to double-back, turn on the faucet again, and dig into the mountain of dishes, etc located there. Sometimes, while toddling around behind me – with a toy car or alphabet magnet in hand – he repeats over and over again, Mommy wash. Mommy wash. Scrubbing diligently, I think about the many possible layers of meaning behind these two simple words.
It’s an encouragement: Mommy wash. As in, keep going, I know you can do it. Remember when I couldn’t get the crocodile piece lined up exactly in the animal puzzle and you told me to keep trying? Same thing. You got this.
It’s an identifier: Mommy wash. As in, this is what you do. This is who you are. Own it.
It’s a comfort: Mommy wash. As in, this is where I am most accustomed to seeing you stand, moving your arms vigorously with suds flying all around, and I feel uncomfortable when you leave this position.
It’s an admonishment: Mommy wash. As in, you probably should have cleaned those up last night, or throughout the day yesterday before they piled up. This is the result of serious slacking, so deal with it.
It’s a preference: Mommy wash. As in, Daddy and I are going to play. First, he is going throw the red airplane and we are going to clap with delight. Then I am going to throw the red airplane and we are going to clap with delight. Next, we’re going to spin the top and possibly read some books or just see where the next hour takes us. Daddy and I will spend that special time together, and you, you will wash.
It’s a brilliant manipulation, my son is a genius: Mommy wash. As in: Daddy, you see how well she rocks these dishes? I don’t know if you’ve ever tried this? She must be the only person in the universe who knows how to do it…
I kid you not, last night when my son said, “Mommy, wash,” my husband chimed in defensively with these exact words, “I can wash dishes, too, you know.”
(Yes, he really can do dishes, too, and does an admirable job, but in more isolated bursts, and usually early in the morning before our son is awake and therefore without an audience.)
The point is that, yes, Mommy does wash, and wash, and wash (and she works on a many other projects in a myriad of locations) but now she is ready to play.
How about you? Do you ever feel like dish soap has become your…main squeeze?