This afternoon my 12-yr-old daughter coaxed the three year old to help her clean the living room. I say help in the loosest sense of the word, because vacuuming can be challenging with the weight of a 3 year old attached to the vacuum handle.
But it was amusing to hear the two of them chatting and working together. At one point the 12 year old (who arrived from Ethiopia 9 months ago) handed the three year old a couple of pillows. “You know, couch have a backward? You put?”
“Yeah, I know, ” says the three year old, not at all confused by her big sister’s unconventional use of English. With great assurance she runs to toss the pillows into their stash-spot behind the couch.
“I have sweat on me!!” huffs the 3 year old as she triumphantly drags chairs away from the dining room table. The 12 year old and I share a grin.
“Mom!” calls the 12 year old a few minutes later, grinning again at the three year old who is now sturdily shoving the vacuum around all by herself. But soon she gets the vacuum snagged in a tight corner and needs some assistance.
“Uh, oh, ” says big sister to her. “Thank you. Right now my turn. And then you again.”
The 3 year old is much displeased at this and pouts away in a huff. The 12 year old relents at her distress and calls her back. “OK– let’s go, same time, both.”
And off they go again, vacuuming in tandem.