I sit at the table and try to have a quiet lunch while scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through Pinterest. We’re having a conversation about a girl in his church “class” and how much he likes her and if I can call her mom right now so she can come over and slide on his slide. He’s standing on his cooler at the kitchen counter, shaking (what I can only assume will end up to be) and entire salt shaker into a bowl.
Just moments ago he was sitting at the table with me. My phone was put away and he was painting a section of concrete that he took out of the driveway. We talked about how beautiful he was making it and he asked for more purple paint. His paper plate is an inch thick with paint he’s swirled all together but I open the purple and squirt another dollop on top of the huge mess.
Later he’ll walk into my room and want to see the new humidifier. A word he can actually say clearly that reminds me he’s not a baby anymore. He’ll drag a chair over to my dresser, stand on it to turn the humidifier on full speed and dance under the fog of wet air. But when that gets old he’ll take the water reservoir off, set it on my dresser, spilling water everywhere and watch the water dance. As it splashes EVERYTHING in sight. I’ll calmly go get him a towel and he’ll get down to get a box of tissues. One by one he’ll put the tissues into the water (at which point I will turn off and unplug the humidifier) he’ll empty almost a whole box of tissues into the water then take some out to “clean” the dresser. I’ll sit on the bed and we’ll keep talking about the fun things he did this week. Then when he is bored with that, I’ll throw away the tissues and wipe up the water with the towel before tossing it into the laundry hamper.
He asked for spaghetti and hotdogs for breakfast. It was the first thing he said to me that morning. So after a little cuddle time in bed I got up, got the leftover spaghetti, warmed it up. Along with a hotdog at 8am. He ate every bite and thanked me as he ran off to his next adventure.
I’m getting impatient wanting him to get dressed so we can leave the house. He asks if he can please wear his jammies, Justin Beiber coat and ladybug boots today. It isn’t exactly what I had picked out but we aren’t going to a beauty pageant today.
Tonight as I go to bed I’ll set out a piece of bread in a baggie. His honey and a plastic knife neatly on a paper towel. When he wakes up in the morning he’ll go make himself a honey sandwich then climb into bed next to me as I bleary eyed turn the tv on. It’ll already be on PBS because that’ll be the last thing I do before going to sleep. One last thing I have to think about. His cup of milk is on the bottom shelf of the fridge, if he gets thirsty, he’ll go get it. And while I’ll this is going on, I’ll steal a few more moments of sleep. Whatever mess happens because of those two things can be cleaned up later, I remind myself.
I’ve learned a lot about myself as a parent lately. It seems like all my peers with kids the same age are in a constant battle of how to do this parenting thing better. Constantly struggling and most importantly, fighting a lot. It seems it’s the topic of every mom gathering lately. Whether at play groups or just a bunch of us standing in the hall at church.
My conclusion: I don’t fight.
Unless something is life threatening, I don’t make a big deal about it. I pick my battles with him. I don’t have the energy, or patience or attitude to be able to correct him all day. He’s learning. I let him learn then take a few extra moments to clean up WITH him.
Isn’t he spoiled because he “gets away with anything he want too?” I would say no. He is polite. He says excuse me as he walks through a crowd. He says please and thank you when even I forget. I would say he’s BETTER behaved because he doesn’t have to try to get away with things. He doesn’t try to push boundaries, because there aren’t many boundaries he can push. He’s smart. He’s experienced a lot and had the best memory of anyone I’ve ever met. He follows instructions when he’s asked to pick something up or let the dogs out. He eats better than ANY toddler I know. He’ll choose broccoli over chocolate cake everyday. He rarely eats “junk” food. But can drink an entire bottle of pickle juice
He’s a 3 year old. A BRAND new 3 year old, who was just 2 a month ago. He’ll still grab a toy out of another child hand and take of running the other direction. He’ll still scream that something is “MINE” if he wants to play with it. And he’ll demand that someone buy him a toy when we’re at the store. I have nights (and days) I am so frustrated with him. Days when everything seems like a battle and we both end up in tears. It isn’t always perfect. Nothing is.
What works for me, and for us may not work for anyone else.
Parenting is HARD. Finding something that works is HARD. It takes matching the personality of your child (or children) with yours and finding something that works. Some parents have time and energy to fight, some children NEED boundaries. I GET THAT.
But TO ME, I dont care if he throws food to the dogs, becasue he eats well. If he didn’t, my perspective may change.
I don’t care if he stands on chairs, sits on the kitchen table, or climbs up on the counter. He knows how to handle himself in those situations. If he didn’t, my perspective may change.
I don’t care if he empties the entire bin of wooden track all of the floor. We’ll just pick it up later.
We’re learning and growing together. And having a whole lot of fun at the same time.
We’re all doing the best we can with what we have. We all deserve pats on the back, and to be a little gentler with ourselves.