I went to the washing machine today, opened it and was surprised to see a completed small load of laundry inside the machine. It smelled kind of funny and included an array of different colors and clothing. Weird.
As I investigated further, I found one of Gus's USED "Pull Ups" included in the load. Gross! (At least I figured out where the smell was coming from) but who was it who did this load of laundry? I knew Rebecca knew how to use the machine, but she insisted that she did not do any laundry yesterday. I knew it must be Nick; maybe he learned how to use the machine and just decided to help out. He denied any participation.
Me: Gus? (he's 5) Did YOU do a load of laundry for mommy?
Gus: No way, mom!
I just could not imagine who could of done a load this bizarre.
I questioned everyone one more time. The three adamantly insisted that they did not do any laundry.
All of a sudden I saw my little Jack slipping up the stairs and thought, huh, could it have been Jack? No way. He can't reach the machine. I asked anyway.
Instantly, Jack sheepishly stopped his trek up the stairs and stood with his back to me. (ahh, guilt you can't hide it, I knew instantly it was him.)
Me: Jack? Did you do a load of laundry yesterday?
Jack: (unsure) Noooo? I didn't?
I could tell on his little face that he was lying. It was clear. The other three kids stood staring at him...mouths open wide. They too knew their brother was caught, and they were shocked at his denial of the act.
I asked again.
Me: Jack, did you put laundry in the machine? I PROMISE you are not going to get into trouble, I just need to know so that next time..I can show you how to put soap in and take out any Pull Ups. OK? Really, you are not in trouble...
Jack smiled sheepishly and admitted to the act. " I just wanted to help you momma."
I gave Jack a big hug and 'thank you' for his thoughtfulness. It was so sweet to help me, but sometimes moms just don't need that kind of help..no matter how well-intentioned. But upon further reflection, our children are given by God a untainted desire to help others and feel as if they matter in a family or group. So no matter that I had to re-wash those clothes and was backed up in my laundry duties; Jack saw that mommy needed help and he decided to do something about it. That is a thoughtful child, acting on a God given instinct. That kind of "help" should never be punished or rejected only encouraged and praised.
I just wish God had given him a little instruction book on how to do the laundry.