Useful child

            Having finished creating art eating his dinner and having determined there were no strawberries to be had, nineteen-month-old Benjamin decided to climb down out of his chair.  As Zachary, J, and I are considerably slower eaters, and as none of us had insisted on starting ten minutes early, we were still dining.  The dinner conversation went something like this.

            “What did you do in <BANG> school today, Zach?”

            “I did <BANG> painting, and playing, and <CRASH> snack time, and running <BANG> around.”

            “Who did you <CRASH> play with?”

            “I <BANG> played with <CRASH> everyone.”

            Since he was around the other side of the kitchen island, we could not see Benjamin, but clearly he had gotten into the pots and pans drawer.  He does this frequently, turning the lids into cymbals.  It is a pretty common toddler occupation.  Suddenly, however, the banging stopped.

            “Pancakes,” he said.  A moment later he appeared around the side of the island.  In his pudgy little hands, he was holding out skillet, which is large enough to cook four pancakes at once.  Beaming, he presented it to me.  “Pancakes.”

            “Yes, sweetie.  We use this to make pancakes.”

            Mommy was not getting the message.  Better try Daddy.  Off he trotted with his skillet in his hands.  “Pancakes,” he announced, handing it to Daddy.

            “Yes, Ben, but we are not making pancakes right now.”

            Hmmm.  OK.  No pancakes.  Must find other source of amusement.  Off he went, around the island again.  “I wonder what he’ll bring next,” J mused.

            A moment later, Benjamin appeared, toting in front of him my enormous, All Clad soup pot.  The one I use to make chicken soup.  Starting from a whole chicken.  Zachary cannot lift the pot, and he is two years older.

            We are not unaware of Benjamin’s strength.  Last week, in the doctor’s waiting room, he moved the entire bead-play table, shoving his brother into a corner with it.  He is also able to move our heavy wooden kitchen chairs.  None of this is a huge surprise, since J is quite strong and according to his mother has always been that way. 

            What we want to know is what kind of a use could we put this to?  We’re moving this week.  It isn’t child labor if we just leave a few boxes around and hope he’ll get inspired to move them into the truck, is it?  Not many, just the heavy ones, of course.  Maybe the ones with the books in them.  We wouldn’t want to exploit of his talent.

25 responses to “Useful child

  1. Maybe not the boxes, maybe the suitcases? Perhaps he can just provide the comic relief that moving always so desperately needs.

    I have a sister who is similarly freakily strong and always has been. Not that you’d ever be able to tell by looking at her.

  2. Heh. Someday, his strength will be an asset to you. Now? I fear it’s more of a disaster waiting to happen.

    Good luck with the move! I’m thinking about you.

  3. Best of luck with the move. I have one of those strong little boys too.

  4. Your own little sherpa. Lucky you.

  5. I am sure he can be put to use toting things through the many airports that I am sure you will be in 🙂

  6. I got one of those Schwarzeneggers, too. But you would not believe that he is as thin as a green bean. I wonder where he gets that strength from since he doesn’t eat that much. It must be genetic, indeed …

  7. I used to call Shark Boy Baby Bam-Bam because we could not believe how strong he was!

    Prepare for destruction!

  8. This brought a huge smile to my face.

    I keep picturing Ben some years from now, pushing a baby carriage with one strong hand while he carries a mitten-clad child on his other shoulder.

    In the meantime, I don’t think moving heavy boxes of family possessions qualifies as child labor, so you’re in the clear. 😉

    Also, your kids are sweet. 🙂

  9. What a sweet picture! I mean the conversation, not your toddler being employed as a mover. But, you know, he is a member of the household – needs to pitch in where he can!

    My youngest is also quite strong. Just last week, he was able to turn off the water supply to the house, after I had been struggling for quite a while, with a wrench, to do that. He just reached in with one hand, like it was nothing.

  10. Think of how many fights you can pick with your own personal bodyguard to back you up!

  11. Will you hire him out when I’m ready to move?

    Especially if he can help make those pancakes…

  12. Hilarious! He needs his underpants over his pyjama bottoms and a small cape, I think. He will probably develop such a gentle nature when he realises he is strong enough never to have to fear another boy.

  13. I am all for exploitation. Get him a moving gurney for Easter and he will wheel those boxes out for you.

  14. He’s a bruiser like my Alex!

    Send him my way!

  15. Send him my way. I’ve got a strong little Girl who needs someone to wrestle (or “rassel” as they say down here…)


  16. mine is like this. lately i’ve been teaching him to push furniture out of the way so my lazy self can pick up the crap behind it without having to exert anything.

    he loves it. 🙂

  17. Ah, yes. He will need that strength to beat up on kids who pick on his big brother. That’s how it works in our house.

  18. It’s only exploiting if you farm him out to your friends. Back in the old days, he would’ve had to help move – at least his toys and clothes! 🙂

  19. Who cares? Honestly, that was so stupid, dude.

  20. Pancakes? Anyone? So cute!

  21. ah yes but can he carry groceries?

  22. HAHAHA!!! Oh I just love littles boys. The little brutes. 😉
    Yes, have HIM carry the boxes! He will feel like such a big boy, and you won’t break your back! It is a win-win situation!

  23. hey! a child super hero! super ben 😉

  24. Those two boys sound just like mine. . .

    The Little Choo-Choo far surpassed the Tractor strength several months ago . . .

    He rearranges our furniture for entertainment. . .

    Which in itself wouldn’t be bad, was it not for the supply of aging Cheerios lodged beneath the couch . . .

    Ah well . . .

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