Many well-meaning people keep telling me that having two children will not be as tough as I think because my son will be old enough to help. So I’ve put on my happy face and devised a list of things that I remember being daunting about a newborn so that my then-four-year-old can help:
Take over the nighttime feedings. Or at least one. You’re hereby assigned the 3 a.m. shift.
Please wash the laundry. We’re almost out of diapers, clothes, and hand towels. Well, maybe not, but the hand towels are your fault, so do it all, please.
Make Mommy a snack, please. I’m about to pass out from hunger. Sure you can make yourself one, too. Remember: protein and veggies and fruit. Yes, ice cream is fine, as long as it has strawberries in it.
Hold the baby while I pee, please. Hold its head. Not like that.
Watch the baby while I shower, please. Make sure to entertain, cuddle, chat, and nurse baby, who always seems to want all of those when mommy has soap on her.
Please read Mommy a book. My eyes won’t stay open long enough to see the words. Yes, we’re in the middle of Absalom, Absalom.
Read the baby a book, please. I’ve already covered all these lame-ass texts with you, so show that it was worth it to read the same book 4,812 times in one month.
Please change the baby’s diaper. Mommy doesn’t like poop. It’s very special and wonderful when you make it, but gross from anyone else.
Please also clean the litter box. See above reason. Poop is never cute from cats. Oh, there’s some over there, too? Yes, please. Clean that, too.
Please suck the snot from the baby’s nose. I know it’s screaming like its limbs have been severed. That’s why I’m going in the other room.
Please talk to the baby in a high-pitched voice. Singsong talking makes Mommy want to gouge her eyes out.
Please mop the floors.
Please do the dishes.
Please clean the bathroom.
Please change the sheets.
Please change the sheets again. Baby puked.
Please do the laundry again.
Please change the baby’s diaper again.
Please pack the diaper bag so we can go to the playground. Why? Because you deserve a little swing time for all your help, little dude.
[Those thoughtful “friends” were right that it’ll be easier this time. That tiny list certainly seems manageable for a four year old. Can you think of any more of the daunting newborn stuff that can be done by a preschooler? Other than attending to his own physical, mental, developmental, and emotional needs, of course. It would just be silly to ask him to do that.]