Oh, little child grocery helper, I have been dreaming of you since July of 2005. Oh yes, way back in July 2005, I so casually invoked the idea of the little child helper and the grocery toting assistance you'd bring, never realizing that - to get to the stage of little child helper - I would have to get through the stage of lugging the little child non-helper around first. But now, safely through the first 2.5 years of life and just 4.5 short years after I dreamed of my little child helper, you have arrived!
Let's take a journey ... a journey back in time. A journey back to a time where I fell victim to a potentially beautiful house, a great price, and the whisperings of my husband who was in love with the previously mentioned house. A journey back to 2005, when Saunders and I were living in our first house. Very cute, very serviceable, very close to our jobs, but also small and getting rapidly filled with our junk. How would we ever fit a baby's junk in there, too? We did not know.
Then, we realized that this house - which had previously been under contract - had come back on the market unexpectedly.
Needed a lot of cosmetic work inside, and the backyard looked like a movie scene from war-torn Bosnia, but ... big house, big yard, desperate investors looking to sell quickly, good deal.
Now, we were not really looking for a house - we thought we'd wait until summer 2006 to move - but we'd had a few things on our list that we wanted in our next house after living in our first home for two years. Here were our ideas.
*Sit-down vanity in the bathroom (hated putting on my makeup standing up at the first house)
*Walk-in kitchen (hated carrying groceries up the small flight of steps - 5 steps -at the first house)
*Lots 'o bedrooms for lots 'o children
*Formal dining room
*Established trees in a big yard
*Basement with poker room/den for his friends to hang out in
*Big enough house that we wouldn't have to move for a long time
Now, when Saunders walked into this new house, he absolutely fell in love with it. He loved everything about it - and what he did not love, he had plans to fix. He loved the big rooms, big doorways, lots of trees in the yard, basement area perfect for poker ... all of it. I admit - I liked it, too. It has lots 'o bedrooms for lots 'o children. However, it did not have a sit-down vanity, which we said we would install within the first year (um, no, we have not). Also, I would be going from five steps walk up to fourteen steps walk up in the garage-to-kitchen department. Hmmm, not really a walk-in kitchen.
Well, I fell prey to the potential of the house, the great buy, and Saunders's desperate Precious Moments eyed-face, and I thought two things:
"Maybe walking up all these steps all the time will help me lose weight" (Sadly not true, by the way.)
"I'll soon have a little child grocery helper to help me carry bags up all these steps, and it will be fine!" (Also, not true. I guess I didn't think about the time needed to convince my husband we were ready for a child, then the time needed to bear the child, and then the time needed let the child grow up into a person who was capable of carrying a bag of groceries up 14 stairs.)
So, I lugged groceries up those steps for a year as a not-pregnant woman, and then for nine months as a pregnant woman, hating my own compromises the whole time ... especially in light of not having a sit-down vanity. :) Then, I added the challenge of hauling a quickly-growing baby in a carrier up the steps for a few months, then a squirmy toddler for a few months, then holding the hand of a fledgling walker as she tottered and almost toppled down the steps for about a year, while also carrying groceries. Those steps have been the bane of my existence in this home for over four years.
Finally, this summer, I reached the point where Katie Anne could stay upstairs and be trusted not to fall down the steps or impale herself on sharp objects while I carried up more groceries. That was a nice point in time, and it made my life much easier. She would even unload bags into the low cabinets, and that brought me a great deal of joy.
However, all that has changed ... because folks, there's a new little grocery helper in town!
These are pictures of my child carrying in TWO 2-Liter Coke Zeros. I am not kidding. This kid is the ultimate little grocery helper. All this month, she's been helping me carry things in from the car - and unlike previous adventures in "toddler helping", this is really helping. And, she loves it. She asks to help carry bags and things in when we get home. She gets mad if I won't let her help. She wants to make multiple trips up and down, up and down those fool steps. She carried those two Cokes in that bag from the garage all the way to the kitchen - no joke. The only reason I gave her that bag was because I'd told her everything left in the car was too heavy for her to carry, but she did not believe me. She kept insisting she could do it because, as she said, "I'm a big girl and I'm real strong." Well, I was trying to prove my point, but that little woman is stubborn! (Wonder where she gets that?!?) She had to sit the bag on each step, stand above it, and pull it up like some pitiful mountain climber. I felt so bad about it and tried and tried to take it away from her, but no - she insisted! I was so guilt-ridden to see my kid working so hard and yet so happy that she was doing it that I almost cried - and I of course ran for the camera! (But not while she was on the steps ... I was too afraid she'd lose her balance and fall. I may use child labor, but I do supervise.)
I've finally got the little helper I told myself would come way back in 2005!
The dream has finally been realized!