W Loves Laundry

Although I wasn't feeling great today, the clothes were approaching 2' higher than the top of the hamper, so I mustered the energy to do laundry. It's also helpful that W just loves helping me do laundry. Many days, he'll out of the blue ask if we can do laundry. Sometimes I say yes, other times I tell him it's not laundry day. I prefer to do all my laundry for the week on one day when I stay home and don't run other errands. But that's the ideal-- some weeks I don't get it all done in a day so it gets done one load at a time during M's morning naps.

The task goes slowly when you let a toddler help by handing you articles of clothing one by one. But W loves laundry day, so his smiles and enthusiasm are charming. I did jazz it up for him today by throwing him the dirty clothes (M was in the way so I couldn't push the hamper all the way into the laundry room) so he could practice catching before he sorted them. I think it will take him at least another six months until he can sort clothes better than his father. Maybe W will accomplish this sooner (he'll be 3 in April), we'll see. Right now he doesn't sort the clothes himself as much as he just takes direction (I toss him a sock and say "whites", his pajamas and say "colors", my pants and say "darks"). And I have one of those laundry sorters with three sections, and he puts the clothes in the section I direct. But sometimes I do quiz him, and ask where he thinks something should go. He's not always right, but he'll get there.

Unfortunately, I think it will be several years before he's tall and/or strong enough to pour the detergent and press the buttons by himself. But W will probably be capable of doing laundry by the time he's six, if he's still interested. It's inexplicable to me why he enjoys it so much now, although watching the clothes spin through the window in the front loading washer is fun. But W likes ALL of it, sorting clothes, putting the clothes in the washer, then dryer, and putting clothes away. He's finally mastered the skill of getting hangers on and off the bar. That took a while-- he would be so frustrated because he could just pull the hanger off, it took seemingly forever for him to understand that you had to LIFT the hanger a bit first in order to get the hook off the bar before you pull it away. I suppose it isn't until you have children that you realize so many things you thought were just intuitive are really not intuitive, and must be taught. At least if you want your 2-year-old helping with the laundry, that is.

Currently, I have W's shirts on the top bar in the closet, and his pants on the lower bar. On one hand, it makes it easier for me to choose matching clothes for him-- since he can reach his pants, he can choose which pair to wear, and I since I have to get his shirt, I just choose one that matches. But on the other hand, it would be empowering for him and convenient for me if he could put away ALL his hanging clothes instead of just half of them. I will have to meditate on whether the convenience of having him hang his own clean clothes up by himself will outweigh the perk of being able to get him to wear matching outfits without any fuss. It's a toss-up, and I suppose ideally I should just teach him how to select clothes that match. Eh, until I have the energy for that, I will probably just leave things as they are.