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Finding ‘Inner Piece’

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Each morning when I leave for work, clutching my boi who is to be dropped to playschool — I make sure that have a good look (almost appreciative) at my living room, clean wooden floors and empty table tops. “Your space is clean, Momma,” I tell myself as I exit.

Every evening, when I turn the key on my door, I know what will greet me — visibly tired looking grandparents lounging on the sofa, sipping their evening tea, a-fresh-from-nap-and-thus-a-very-active toddler who has strewn his blocks (all shapes and sizes), books and some wooden alphabets all across the living room. I can barely see the floor somedays. I get the creeps. As I scoop my boi up and do my routine kissy-huggy, all that my eyes capture and transmit to brain is ‘this cleanup will be a killer.

So each night, before I tuck myself and boi in bed, sorting the wooden blocks, magnetic ones, odd pages of boi’s favorite picture books, scooping missing pieces from under the sofa/TV cabinet have now become part of my daily ritual. I can’t go to bed when my living room or boi’s room is not organised to it’s original state. In fact, if I had my way then I would eliminate all these darned blocks from my home but sadly, they are an integral part of growing up (and a steady route to turn mommy into a mumbling hag). Arts & crafts, and construction/building play  — I’m told — are ways for children to express their creativity, encourages focus and concentration, and develops fine motor skills and eye-hand coordination. It is said to allow children feel proud of themselves and gain a sense of mastery after they have created something. Perhaps flinging the blocks too has some deep psychological impact — only positive I hope.

Call me crazy but everytime I see my child throwing his stuff around, I fast forward the scene to envision an adult version of my child living with his partner, and throwing his stuff about with no regards about cleaning it up. It is cringeworthy. I want to raise a happy thoughtful boi who will grow into caring and considerate man.

“If a child is old enough to get out a toy to play, she/he is old enough to put it away.”

Now this sounds logical on paper but believe me it doesn’t always work. I have tried singing songs to have my boi join me in cleaning up, tried to cajole him with “fun stuff we would do” post-cleanup, and even tried scolding. It does not work. Finding those inner pieces sitting under the sofa or cupboards is going to be my nemesis.

UPDATE: I ordered big covered stowaway bins from Groupon and they have arrived! I am taking the easier way out, hereon. Stashing the toys in one bin, favourite books in another and current favourite blocks in third one. Boi will be given one bin at a time, without overwhelming him with too many things to play at once while encouraging his creative play.

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Learning a thing or two from my toddler

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Before this particular mommy phase began, I thought I knew the latest toddler-rearing theories (picked up from my elder sister who has capably managed two kids on her own — in the US — away from all ‘sorts’ of help Indian mothers bank upon). But I had grossly underestimated the practical challenges of raising a feisty toddler like mine.

My boi has just begun to test his independence and seems to be experimenting each day how far he can loop me before being reined in. Experts — and by that I mean fellow mommies — claim that this is normal and exactly what the bulk of their kind do at this age. Some babies, I am told, began testing the mommy’s limits as early as age 1.
*slow clap for those brave mommies*

Coming back to the subject of my boi — who is beginning to assert himself, can communicate likes-dislikes by shrieking, & act independently (as much as he can) — it’s beginning to hit me that I have to change gears as mommy and step back a little.

Children’s wilfulness and opposition can easily frustrate parents. It is hard to accept, at times, that a previously biddable baby could grow to toddlerhood and be so intent on doing exactly the opposite of what we want, or what is safe.

Yea, so the above is exactly what has happened in my household. One day ago, he was just a baby cuddling alongside and today he’s all about walking-eating-playing as desired. Frankly there seems to be no easy way to manage toddlers.

According to a fellow mommy,

They just need lots of time and lots of hands-on guidance. We always need to be on duty when we have toddlers because they keep jumping (at times literally) from activity to activity.

My boi (perhaps like every other toddler) has simply the shortest interest span. Give him a colourful book and he will happily turn a few pages before it’s abandoned for some thing else. On weekends, I have to tune myself closely to his world by making it safe (keeping hot pots out of reach, lifting electrical cords out of the way, locking cupboards that contain precious items) and by physically helping-directing his actions.

Be patient. This will eventually pass.

Or so tells me everyone. Right now, I am not so sure that this independent streak of my boi will ever pass.

And since he insists on opening kitchen drawers each time he is there, so I had to do some extra work too. Now all  I don’t have to scream “No!” all the time, boi is happy to explore as much as he wants, nothing gets broken although there’s some extra amount of bending to retrieve lids and flat vessels abandoned under the furniture.

I have to do some extra practice of resisting the temptation to take over and do everything myself to save time and frustration. Sample this: A bag of building blocks was recently added to boi’s play stuff. And while he seems to be getting a hang of putting the blocks together, it is no fun for mommy to keep retrieving blocks from all corners. So, I tried to teach him to put blocks back in the bag and this he has learnt but insists that on putting one block at a time. It’s very hard for me to control the urge to quickly shove all blocks back in the bag but I refrain myself from doing what is boi’s work.

Toddler-hood is surely going to make me a better ‘restrained’ human being if not a better mommy. Sigh.

 

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Fantastic thoughts.

why i left my job

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It is the 20th day of February, and Mother Nature is dumping some more snow on us here in Minnesota. I am looking outside my window as I type, and I feel like I am inside a snow globe. Whoever is shaking this globe, please stop! It was pretty the first time, but I am over it now. Really, I don’t remember ever hating winter as much as I have this year. It’s been cold. My back still hurts from shoveling earlier this week. And the kids and I are going crazy in this house.  Let me rephrase that: My house and children are driving me crazy. Pretty soon I’ll be trying to peel away the yellow wallpaper.

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I am a workaholic at heart. Weird, you may be thinking, since this is coming from someone who could no longer take the pressure of working a full-time job and taking…

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