This is a loaded question isn’t it? I mean there are several ways you can approach this question when your child asks you. When they are really little it is a small miracle that these little stubborn beings ask for help. A two and three year old is very confident in their abilities despite the many gallons of juice they have spilled on your table and floor they are still certain that “I can do!”
As a parent you can either fight with them. You can break their will or you can clean up the fucking juice off of the floor. I have been all three types of mom. It usually goes like this.
“Juice!” small child demands.
“You need some juice baby. I’ll get you some.” I walk over to the cupboard grab the sippy cup because the last thing I want to do is make more work for myself by having the open cup get knocked over. Sippy cups is to avoid spills that’s why we use them. I sniff the sippy cup, I think this is normal, right? Does this cup smell like ass? Did it get fully cleaned? I washed this by hand and took all of the mechanisms out and boiled them…. but if it smells like ass I will do it again. I take out the juice and now the very confident small child goes to grab the jug from my hands.
“I do it!”
“No! I will do it!”
“I dooooo it!” small child is so confident and clearly I am not because of the cup sniffing and all. Maybe the small child should do it.
“How about I help you?”
“IIIIII DDDDOOOOOOOOOO ITTTTT!”
oh for fucks sake stop whining. fine you do it.
I reluctantly hand over the juice bottle. It typically starts well until the juice line tilts and the bottle becomes top heavy and the entire bottle is dumping. I reach out and grab the jug and try my best to keep my composure. The small child slurps the juice off of the table and is completely pleased with their performance. That’s because they don’t have to clean it up. I tell them to run along so that I can clean it up and they always try to help….because they are very confident. Yes please smear the juice around that is very helpful.
“Go see what the dog is doing!” I say because I don’t really need nor want their help.
Now the child is in school and it starts so innocent “Mom can you help me?”
I peer over and see that it is simple arithmetic and I’m like yes but once you hit calculus you are on your own because that fucking class made me her bitch. Calculus is female for obvious reasons.
“Okay first you add the two numbers to the right. and then you carry the one.”
“That’s not how my teacher showed us.”
I stand there looking at the kid and thinking the mathematicians have been carrying the one since they built the pyramids…. what do you mean this isn’t how the teacher showed you?
“This is how you add, child.” I go back to the problem.
“No. Mom you have to draw a lattice.”
“My math had more numbers and less drawing.” I say.
The child builds the lattice and plugs in numbers and does their eighteen steps to get the proper answer and I am trying to follow along. I get out my calculator to check the work and I am like what kind of string theorist came up with this long complicated arithmetic in the first fucking place.
I told my child “How many problems are you supposed to do tonight?” because if you keep this up we are going to finish in time for school tomorrow.
The child looks at me and says ten problems.
“I’m sorry!” I say and I walk away.
I call other parents and ask if their children are also doing art math and they said yes. I am all progressive and I believe the teachers are trying to teach the kids something so I go along with it. The school has a reason so I am all like, sure learn this way. I also bought my children math books at the grocery store that does straight up math with carry the one and I teach that in my home too. I mean what can it hurt.
“Can you come into a parent teacher conference?”
Oh this is what it’s going to hurt, me!
The teacher and I come to the agreement that as long as my child is using the math that I taught to check her math it was okay. Problem averted!
Another time when one of my children asked for help she was trying to get down from her horse and she calls out nervously, “Mom, can you help me?”
I look at my daughter and she was dangling from the side of the horse. She was caught and I have no idea how. I walk over and I see that the tiny little hole that was in her pants had gotten snagged on her stirrup and she is being held onto the poor pony.
I start laughing because its honestly hilarious to see her just dangling and completely unable to get down. The stupid pants are really caught and luckily the pony is standing there otherwise this would have been dangerous. I start laughing and because I am laughing, and because I have had three kids, I am standing crossing my legs so I don’t piss my pants. I am all jelly arms because I can either do things requiring strength or I can laugh but I obviously cannot do both. My oldest daughter looks at us and comes over with her original “stupid futtin mommy!” sentiment and she, whilst on her own pony, helps her sister down. She rolls her eyes at me and rides away like the teenager that she was.
Moral of my story: “Mom can you help me?” has been a learning experience for me as well. Sometimes the answer is “yes!” and I lack the ability. Sometimes I am there mostly for moral support. Sometimes it takes the entire family to get involved and that is the best of times. Whatever the situation I will always be there! I may not help in the original manner but I will help to what capacity I am capable of. FYI I would like to point out there have been times when I have been totally helpful but those stories are less entertaining and therefore have no reason to be shared. I wouldn’t want to bore you with my excellent helping abilities. Okay there are more stories that ended this way.