Friday, March 27, 2009

My topsy turvy two year old

So many days I find myself rushing around with my second, trying to get things done while his big sister is at school. I hate doing that. I remember how intentionally I focused on my first. There were creative activities and outings. My entire schedule revolved around her. It was no big deal to live life according to her time frame. Now that there are two kids, with two very different schedules and developmental needs, it can be tough. She has to get to school on time. There's homework and commitments. Then, throw in part-time work, and things start to get pretty harried. Maintaining a state of peace while getting it all done takes extraordinary effort on my part. We say "no" to plenty of activities and events in an effort to keep our schedule as simple as possible. " Now," you ask, "where does the second child fit in?" He's along for the ride far more than I'd like to admit. Fortunately, he's a pretty easy-going guy.

Today I realized that it had been forever since I made the entire morning all about him. So we got the groceries, went to the library, and came home. He zoomed through the painting I set out for him in minutes. He was ready to move on. Sometimes this mystifies me. His sister would have spent at least a half hour on that activity, even at two and a half. He loves artwork, but only for 5 minutes at a time. So... Plan B. Water. The boy lives to play in water. I swear. Ask his Montessori teacher. Since we do water play around here fairly regularly, I have the set up down pat. A laminated cloth underneath, towels, a big shallow metal pan from a yard sale, some cups, spoons, a glass pitcher, and some tiny colanders (a Christmas splurge.) He should have been content for at least 20 minutes. Not so. He wanted some things to float in the water.In a moment of desperate inspiration, I produced some nuts that had been in the cupboard a while. I was trying really hard not to be irritated. Didn't he know that this was our special segment of time? The nuts were magic, though. Suddenly we were both having so much fun. He counted, he sorted, he splashed, he poured. And then he wanted to eat them. Why not?So I got this nut cracker out which we have NEVER used... until today. It became this perfect motor skills activity for him. We figured out that pecans were the perfect size for him to actually work the lever and get a satisfying "CRACK!" He got busy. He got very busy. The whole counter was littered in nut shells. Then, like the sneaky mama that I am, I realized I could top off the fine motor skill development by giving him some kiddy chop sticks to pick up nuts and eat them. At first, it was difficult for him, but he worked at it for several minutes. Soon he had that mastered. Who needs expensive toys, I ask you? I am so glad that I slowed down my day to play with my little guy. Did I get the dishwasher unloaded? Nope. Did I sit, and laugh, and savor my little guy's exuberance? Yes, yes, I did.


Liz said...

I love that Heather. Cooped up over here on a teacher work day and I came to the realization that without being able to go outside, my boys are wandering around looking lost. They still need help to often initiate an activity. I like how you found fun in the unexpected and followed his lead. I love days like that! But I wish it would stop raining!

Melissa said...

I love that-- and I love your "work" you made (I'm a Montessori teacher. My attempts on bringing it into the home have been, um.... less than successful, shall we say."

My second-child guilt is that I really could sit and stare at him all day-- my first was so high-needs, and there was not (and still isn't, much) just sitting around soaking him in. My second will stare into my eyes for hours. So it's hard no matter what-- but it looks like you are an amazing mama to that little guy.

Anonymous said...

Heather, you're amazing!