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.