My mom likes to be a part of the meal prep, cooking and cleaning up. But she is kind of limited with just what she can do. She does need a lot of help from me! There are even some things that my dad has to do to help us. She has told me stories about how she used to do all of the kitchen tasks by herself and how much she enjoyed cooking, especially baking yummy treats. Doing any of those things are just memories now. I tell her that it is good to have special memories from the past. But also remember that creating new memories is extra special too.
There are many things I do to help my mom in the kitchen. Today I’m going to tell you about doing the dishes. In future posts, I’ll tell you about some of my other “kitchen” jobs! Our kitchen looks different than most although to me it seems pretty normal. There are these really cool open spaces under the sink, cooktop, and an area of the counter so that she can roll her wheelchair underneath. This makes it so that she can reach the areas more easily. I think these open spaces are fun! We sometimes practice my “under” cue but I’ll tell you more about that another time.
When my mom wants to load the dishwasher she rolls her chair under the sink. She has me open the dishwasher door. It is to the left of the sink because having it there is easier for my mom. She has more strength in her left arm and more function in that hand than her right side. While she rinses the dishes and loads the dishwasher I patiently stand there and watch her. She usually talks to me while I’m waiting and that makes me happy! When she finishes she has me close the door. Then I know we are done with the dishes!
If you were to look around our kitchen you would see a variety of knotted white ropes. They are attached to some of the drawers, cupboards, and on the dishwasher. There is even one on the refrigerator door! When my mom needs to get something inside any of these places she gives me the cue “tug.” That is when I grab ahold of the knotted end and pull so that it opens. When she has finished and is ready for me to close it she tells me “push.” Then I use my nose to push it closed. Sometimes she gives me a tiny little dog treat when I have done my job correctly. The treat tastes yummy but most of all I’m just happy to be helping my mom!