Never underestimate your child.
But if you do underestimate what they are capable of doing, trust me. They will surprise you! I learned this, in a delightful way, last night.
William was dancing around the bathroom while I brushed my hair and put on makeup yesterday morning. To give him something to do, I pointed to a stack of plastic cups sitting on the counter and said, "Hey, William, do you want to carry those cups downstairs for Mommy?"
William is at the age where he loves to "help." He loves to help unload the dishwasher--which I let him do; he gets to take out all the little plastic forks and spoons that he uses and put them in his drawer. He loves to help take clean laundry out of the dryer and put it in the laundry basket. And he's finally old enough to fetch various things for me when I need them; if I ask him to grab a kleenex for me, he goes running off and comes back moments later with, yes, a kleenex. It's actually quite nice. Even nicer is the look of sheer pleasure on his face because he knows he has been helpful, like a big boy.
Anyway, he was happy to help by carrying the cups downstairs. Off he went. I managed to get distracted by various things and completely forgot that I had asked him to run this little errand.
Fast-forward to about 6:30 p.m. last night. William was eating dinner, while I ran upstairs to get something. While I was upstairs, I remembered the plastic cups. And then I realized that I hadn't actually seen where he put them. They could be anywhere. Really. Anywhere. I walked back downstairs and called, "Hey, William, do you remember those plastic cups I asked you to bring downstairs this morning? What did you do with them?"
Through a mouthful of strawberries and pears, William said, "I put them in de dishwasher."
Astonished, I opened the dishwasher, and there they were! He had opened the dishwasher, pulled out the top rack, unstacked the cups, and placed each one individually in the top rack, just like Mommy always does, pushed the rack back in and closed and locked the dishwasher.
Amazing. I never would have thought he'd even think of doing that, let alone actually do it! He just gets more and more interesting and amazing as he grows up. Wow.