Elie is an extremely thoughtful little girl. In kindergarten children can bring in a special treat for snack around or on their birthday, to celebrate with the class. There are several children in the class that have food allergies and Elie was very concerned that the snack she bring be something that everyone could eat. That way no one would feel left out of the celebration. She also loves to help out and lend a hand whenever and wherever it is needed. She will often ask if there's anything I need help with, volunteer to help Isaac, Talia or Leila or will jump in and give assistance in most any situation. She was recently at a birthday party and they did some stuffed animal project. The mother of the celebrant called me the next day to let me know how thoughtful and helpful Elie was. Apparently, while the other kids were just reaching and grabbing stuffing, pushing each other out of the way, Elie was standing at the side of the stuffing bin handing handfuls of stuffing to the littler kids and kids who couldn't reach. It is really cool to see how giving she is.
However, like most situations in life, there are some protocol, grey areas and limits. And as of late, we've encountered a few of those with regard to *helping*. For instance, the other day Isaac was in a big hurry to get inside after we got home from picking him up because he needed to go to the bathroom urgently. Elie volunteered to bring in his backpack and jacket. Isaac said that would be great, thanks, and he ran in to use the potty. Elie came in with the backpack and jacket. Then she proceeded (with Isaac's blessing) to unload the backpack. She removed his lunchbox and set it on the table, then she took out his folder and removed the papers. Then she decided that she was done. So she announced to me "Mom someone didn't put away their backpack." ARGHGHGHGHG Here she had been so sweet and kind to Isaac and then she decided that she was done and threw him under the bus.
How the heck do I explain this? She was doing something that wasn't her responsibility to take care of, but she volunteered and so it is important to finish the job that she volunteered to do. So she finishes the job and off she goes.
We also have a problem with too much help. She will often take it upon herself to take things away from Leila. Or she'll try and move Leila. Or help Isaac and Talia when he asks for help from a parental unit. All of that *help* usually ends up creating a problem, which is NOT helpful at all.
I don't think that she means harm when she gives help that is unasked for. She honestly wants to be helpful. But she also thinks she's a grownup. Which I'd like her not to think. There's plenty of time for her to be a grownup and there are already two adults in this house, which is enough.
It's very interesting to watch. There are all of these situations occuring where there has to be education given about the social grey areas that we as adults navigate daily. It's less interesting to be doing the education. I'm not sad about passing on our values and attitudes, I just find it frustrating to say the same thing over and over and over and over again. Until then, we're valuing the helpful-helpfulness and teaching about unhelpful-helpfulness