Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Sweet, Darling, Beautiful CHALLENGE. Part 2. By Hilary

In Which I Pay More Attention to My Sweet, Darling, Beautiful, Challenging Daughter. 

In Part 1, I explained how my 2.5-year-old daughter went from perfectly sweet and silent (if not somewhat growly) infant to block-chucking, crying, non-napping toddler - and the transition has been a bit ... well, there are lots of words to describe it but frustrating is a good one. So is challenging. So is I want to tear my hair out and eat my young. 

Anyway, I determined that MUCH of the problem is that she was so easy at the beginning of her life that I haven't helicopter-parented her in the same way I did my older 2 children. Okay, not exactly helicopter-parented but you guys know what I mean. 

But shit. Is it really my fault? When she was almost 1, she'd sleep ALL DAY while the boys were in school. Seriously 9-3. And I would work. And then when she started napping a little less, she would entertain herself for hours. Happily. But entertaining yourself at 1 when you can't walk, and at 2.5 when you can't stop running are two totally different balls of wax. 

So, I resolved to pay more attention to her. Interact. Get outside. 

Day 1. Set up play-doh on counter next to my work area. Things went well. 

Day 2. Set up a painting project. Set up took 10 minutes. Painting took 2 seconds. Clean up took 10 minutes. Oh yeah. This is why I don't like painting with 2-year-olds. 

Day 3. Play outside. 
N decides she wants to drive A's Jeep. Only she has no idea about steering. For the first 8 or so minutes, I run alongside the Jeep, out of breath, hunched over, trying to explain steering to her as she drives along. 

But let's be honest, here. She is not getting it, and I am not having fun. But I soldier on. I will still play with her. Get her good and tired so she takes a good nap. 

She's on her own.

First, holding the steering wheel hard to one side, she does a big circle. 

"I did it," she says, happily.

She does one more big circle and runs right into the butterfly bush. 

"Oops! Help, Mommy!" 

Now, I'm thinking, "This is funny. I should take a quick picture before I turn her around." 

So I do. Then I turn her around and she starts driving again. 

She runs into a big rock. 

"Oops! Help, Mommy!" 

I take a picture, then turn her around. Okay, not gonna lie. I take like 4 pictures. 

She does another big circle and runs into another big rock. 

"Oops! Help, Mommy! I want to go up there." 

She is pointing up the big hill in our yard. There is no way she's getting up there. I take another picture and turn her around.

She must be thinking, "That's enough of this shit," because she puts the Jeep in reverse. You know what's coming. 

She runs into the same rock. Going backwards. 

"Oops! Help, Mommy!" 

Take a picture, shift the Jeep into Drive. 

She drives into the swing set. 

You think you know what she's going to say, right?! So did I. But instead of "Oops!" she says, "I did it!" 

Now I am taking a picture and laughing at the same time. 

And she says, "It's NOT funny. It's NOT funny, Mommy." 

I take more pictures and turn her around. 

She drives into the middle of the yard and decides this whole driving thing - at least this way - isn't working for her. So she tries a new position. 

She manages to use her heel to push the pedal but obviously can't steer with her bottom. Fortunately, she can't get much distance this way, and she gives up. 

I am still laughing. 

For the rest of our playtime, she's repeating, "It's NOT funny, Mommy!" 

Needless to say, I had a good time. It was SO much less stressful to watch her crash the Jeep over and over than it was to be knee deep in work and look up to find her playing with the boys'  scissors or drinking the coffee I left on the coffee table or coloring all over the couch with a red marker. 

And when I did sit down to work after putting her in her bed for a nap, I was much more productive because I didn't have to keep stopping to go find her (you know when things get silent and you know your toddler is probably in her bedroom smearing lotion all over the carpet, the bed, the door and her face and then using a million wipes to clean it up?). 

Lesson learned. 

1 comment:

The Webbers said...

I LOVE that you take pictures of the crying (I think that's actually from your last post) and of the crashing. One time one of my daughters poured hot candle wax on her face (after grabbing a candle I had just said not to touch) I ran and grabbed the camera to take a picture before I helped her pick it off!