Saturday, June 14, 2008

Toddler Time

Sometimes it seems like I spend all day hurrying Jackson along by cajoling, threatening, and bribing. Our most overused trick is to threaten to "help" him if he doesn't get a move on. For example,
"Jackson get your pants on before I count to three or I'm going to help you."
Toddlers really really really don't like help. It occurred to me that the poor kid never gets a break. I mean, even an event that's supposed to be fun like going to the beach involves thirty minutes of heavy prompting to get dressed, get downstairs, eat breakfast, put on sunscreen, get in the car, etc. So today I decided that maybe instead of trying to get him to do things on MY time, I should try to slow down and live on Toddler Time for a while...

2:01 Jackson wakes up from his nap. We sit in his chair and read Amazing Airplanes three times. I don't actually have to read it at this point because I have it memorized. It's a long story. I'm fairly certain this is going to impress someone, someday.

2:16 I suggest that we go to the grocery store. This is usually a very exciting opportunity for Jackson because our grocery store gives away free cookies and balloons, and has these horrible car shaped carts for the kids to ride in. Jackson gets very excited and shouts GROCERY STORE! I tell him that we will need to 1) put his shoes on, 2) go downstairs and 3) get in the car.

2:17 Jackson leaps off my lap to look for his shoes, which he brings in my general direction. On his way back he finds a gummy ring that used to light up. He drops his shoes and works intently on getting the ring on. I sit back in his chair and stare blankly out the window, trying to enjoy Toddler Time.

2:25 A scream of rage interrupts my thoughts. Jackson has found his shoes again and is trying to put them on himself. Any attempts at helping are met with an angry "Jackson do it!"

2:27 Shoes are on the floor, and Jackson is now happily playing with his yellow school bus.

2:35 Jackson brings his shoes to me and demands "Mommy do it shoes on grocery store cookie." I first try to decide if this counts as an eight word sentence (I'm pretty sure it doesn't), and then I oblige and try not to notice that it's now been 20 minutes since I suggested going to the store.

2:38 We head downstairs. At the bottom of the stairs Jackson exclaims, "TRACTOR!" in a voice reserved for long lost friends that you run into unexpectedly at Starbucks. The tractor is sitting where he has left it after playing with it before his nap. I try to use deep breathing to decrease my blood pressure and then decide to clean the kitchen while he plays with the tractor. This IS Toddler Time after all.

3:06 My kitchen is sparkling clean and Jackson is still playing with the tractor. I finally ask gently, "Jackson, honey, did you want to go to the grocery store with Mommy?" He jumps up and runs for the door yelling, "Push button!" (AKA 'open the garage door'). As soon as he pushes the button, he squirms out of my arms and makes a beeline....straight out of the garage and into the driveway where he runs around in circles whooping like a teenager at a concert. I think, "Oh my god, it's like this kid has no frontal lobe!" And that's when it hits me. He. Literally. Has. No. Frontal. Lobe. Or at least the one he has isn't working yet AT ALL. I'M supposed to be his frontal lobe. I'M the one that is supposed to keep him on track (insert cheesy trumpet song)!

3:08 "Jackson," I say firmly, "you have ten seconds to get in your car seat or Mommy is going to help you." He runs happily to the car and chants with me, "One...Two...Three..."

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