Today, my two-year-old asked for help with his wooden train tracks. His trains were upstairs, his train tracks were downstairs, and he preferred relocating the relatively large, intricately linked and somewhat difficult to move rails to transporting the things on wheels.

Cool. It’s a day, man, and we gotta live it however we gotta live it. Happy to be of service if you’re gonna play and not scream.

So I went downstairs and brought the train tracks up.

When I arrived at the new train station, he said, “You good helper, Mommy. Good helper.”

And I got a little weepy.

Because nobody in six and a half years has told me that I’m a good helper. Or if they did, they used a regular, grown-up voice and verbs in their sentence so I didn’t completely internalize what they were saying. Either way, it felt really, *really* good to be noticed.

So, either I need a job with regular performance reviews again, or I need to hear these wonderful children when they thank me. We all know the appreciation in this job is at best implied and at worst deferred until they have kids of their own and call, weeping with the exhaustion and overwhelming terror of having a newborn, toddler, preschooler, or teenager to apologize for what shits they were as kids and to express their awe at what great parents we were to tolerate them.

So I’ll take my “good helper” kudos and chalk up my points for teaching him to ask for help, appreciate it, and articulate his feelings. Plus bonus stickers for actually *being* a good helper.

Now, where do I turn in these tickets for prizes?

32 thoughts on “Sad-sack-itis

  1. I have a bouncy ball I can send you. (In exchange for the tickets, I mean.)

    Really, though: you rock, mama. You *are* a good helper, and you display extreme patience, and respond creatively and you meet zillions of little needs a day without going crazy. Write up your performance review, we’ll all sign off.

    • I know, right? I’ll find a way to use that sincerity to make myself more guilty for sending him off to socialization camp a few hours a week next month. Because I can’t possibly enjoy it for too long.

    • Full night of sleep sounds very very nice. But I would like a day of books and movies and food being brought to me. No cleaning, no preparing, no parenting because my children would be delightful or in the care of someone else. In other words, I’d like to be a member of the British aristocracy circa1902, plus John Hughes DVDs.

  2. Pingback: Where Do Moms Go To Hear “Thank You”? | Outlaw Mama

  3. hearing the “thank yous” from our babies, 99 percent of the time requires the ability to crack some sort of toddler morse code. Until moments like these…Last night, Z screamed out for me due to his new terror of whatever monster lives in his room (I’ll really have to look into that) and I ran to rub his back. I left the room and heard him mumble something on the way out. curious, I went back in and said “what, honey?” Sound asleep, “I love you, Mommy”


    My husband so appreciated my waking him up at 3 am to tell him this beautiful story. Almost as much as you appreciate me writing it here…

    I agree with the poignant sentiments of Butter. You are a good helper. ;)

    • Why do husbands never appreciate being awakened for niceness? We’re awakened for screaming and crying and pain and poop all night. You’d think they’d be grateful! (Hey, are there any nighttime dads or two-mom families who have a different response from their no-night-duty partner? I’ll bet a co-parenting woman would appreciate being awakened for good parenting news at 3am Maybe.)

      For the record, I do appreciate you writing it here. Because it’s sweet and lovely and you’re not waking me up. ;-)

    • Oh, LetMeStart, I know darned well yours pay you copious gratitude in the form of booger murals and fart jokes. You lucky mama, you. ;-)
      I, for one, am grateful for you. And I think of you every time there’s a “I never thought I’d say that” moment.

    • Well, I’ll tell ya…I cried, too. I protest an awful lot about being insufficient at the things I do, but I’m a freaking GREAT helper. And I don’t think I’ve ever had a more sincere dollop of gratitude plopped on this confused mound of lost selfhood than the one that sweet little monkey graciously offered me.

  4. Pingback: Summing Up My Week… (8/19-8/26/12) | Let Me Start By Saying…

  5. I believe you deserve, at the very least, some time off for that little man’s excellent manners!

    I have been a mom 9 yrs. and never been so patient! Although my 2yo did tell me last week that I was “so cute, Mommy.” (*raising a con-artist, I’m afraid*)

    • LOL. I’m afraid to ask what you did that inspired a toddler to say that you were so cute.

      Con-artist skills are networking skills. No shame in that. Future success story is what a con-artist preschooler is.

      (Welcome by the way. Nice to see you here.)

  6. Better bank those tickets for further down the road! Congrats to you on your kudos :) My youngest will sometimes through in a big hug and a “you were the best mom today” on occasion. It truly warms the heart!

  7. It’s a great moment when you realized that the good morals and civilities you are trying to instill in your children are working their way into their souls. I still get a little bit misty when I notice my otherwise clueless teenage boy holding a door, giving up his seat, landing a helping hand, without asking, to strangers.

    • oh, that must just be heavenly.

      When we were camping, Butter fell and hurt himself pretty badly. Peanut ran to the car, got a clean pair of undies, and wet them with the purified water. And offered them to B, saying, “Here, sweetie, this is kind of like an ice pack. This will help. Let me put this on your hurt.”
      Something is working. Something.

  8. What a short, beautiful piece that reminds the rest of us why we are sloggin’ away at the hardest job in the world.

    I have four children, the youngest two-and-a-half. He says “thank you, Mama” but has not yet congratulated me on being a good helper. So congratulations to you, fellow mother! And what a precious little guy you have.

    • Thank, Hillary.
      I was shocked, honestly, because he usually thanks me but forgets to boost my sense of self worth by telling me about my helping skills. ;-)
      I hope your youngest mentions your helping soon. Better yet, that your older kids do.

  9. Oh I love this, so glad Alexandra led me to your blog, she always finds the best ones :). This is so true, motherhood is often a thankless job so we have to take our compliments in any way we can get them. My 4 y/o insists I wipe his behind because I do a better job. Not sure I can trade that one in for any prize.

    • So funny because I took out a line that read “If you’d really like the luxury of wiping only your own bum for a whole week…”
      My 4yo used to say the same. I told him he could wait for Dad to get home and wipe him or that he could try his best. Two weeks after he turned 4 I had a baby and I told him my limit was one Other rump a day.
      Good luck!

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