Baby is a very independent three year old, in some situations. In others, she is the most helpless thing on the planet. Since I'm spending a lot of my time holding Baby2 and being lazy when it comes to getting myself out of the rocking chair, I've been teaching Baby how to do many things on her own (with the help of a stool, sometimes). Here's a few tricks she can do:
1. Need light? I taught her how to open and close the window blinds. If she stands on a chair, she can reach the pull strings. This is handy if it happens to get dark out and I don't want the neighborhood watching me nurse Baby2. I just ask Baby to close the window blinds.
2. Snacks. Baby is always hungry. I set up a snack shelf in the pantry that she can get to. She can open the pantry door and choose a snack (she always has to ask permission before, of course). If I could teach her how to pour her own milk and cereal, we'd be set for breakfast. As it is, her breakfast the other day was a granola bar and a box of raisins.
3. Water. I love having a water and ice dispenser on the refrigerator. I put cups down in a bottom cupboard for Baby to grab, and she can just barely get on her tiptoes to reach the dispenser. Granted, I spend a lot of time wiping up water spills later, but it's worth it. I get thirsty and she can bring me a drink. Oh yeah, she can get some for herself, too.
4. Opening the sliding door. Baby likes to play outside. Our backyard is fenced in and Baby knows not to touch the cactus or rose bushes. Other than that, she is free to dig and carry rocks around and slide down her plastic slide. If she wants to go outside, she knows how to unlock and open the sliding door. Yes, I do make her ask permission first.
5. Use a chair for just about anything. If Baby wants something that is taller than she is, she will grab a chair to go get it. Those chairs rack up some good mileage traveling around the house for Baby to get items or see things (she loves to watch Baby2 get changed and will pull up a chair next to me for better viewing pleasure).
6. Wash dishes. Ok, so she can't wash the glass dishes or do too much, but she can use a chair to pull up to the sink, wash out her bowls or plates or whatever, and put them in the dishwasher.
7. Get dressed. She's been pretty proud of herself for getting her shirts on and off. I don't blame her, those things are tricky. Who cares if it's inside out or backwards. It's on.
8. Wash her hands. Baby loves to wash her hands, and I've been emphasizing that she has to if she wants to touch Baby2 at all. She's very good about washing her hands after she goes potty. Some adults can't even do that.
Pretty soon she won't need me at all.