We reached a breaking point when my husband was trying to prepare some food in the kitchen and the Eskimo was underfoot around the very hot stove. That's when I decided that this was the perfect opportunity for the Eskimo to learn how to do the dishes. That's right. I filled the kitchen sink up with warm, soapy water, dumped a bunch of his plastic cups and utensils in there, and let him make a huge, soapy mess. It worked.
You see that? Yeah, that's an enormous smile on this boy's face.
Here he was experimenting with squeezing the sponge.
And filling the cups and dumping them was also enormous fun.
This kept him going until Daddy was done in the kitchen and it was safe for him to wander around being cranky again. He did start to pitch a fit when we emptied the water from the sink, but then I gave him a towel and asked him to help me clean up the (enormous) mess he had made. He really enjoyed wiping up the floor and it distracted him from the fact that his fun was over. I'm always amazed at how entertained the Eskimo is by doing regular household chores. I need to keep this in mind for the future! Play doesn't have to involve toys. When you're a toddler, everything you do is a form of playing and learning. Might as well teach him how to keep house!