Thursday, February 17, 2011

trying to match a toddler’s energy

I love Burrito.  I love spending time with her.  I love the magical moments that are sprinkled through the day.  When she says she loves me (without being asked).  When she learns something new.  When she says something unexpected that makes me laugh out loud.

But there are a whole lot of moments in this journey of parenthood that are pretty mundane.  Even (dare I say it?), boring. 

I struggle with trying to maintain interest in a toddler’s interests.  Because, well, I’m not a toddler.  Where I would like to finish reading The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, she would like to play doll house and “Mommy play doll house too!” (whatever that means!).  Some days I come up with awesome, creative ideas for play, but other days I have no stinkin’ clue.  Surely, other moms must be filling their days with their young ones with all kinds of new, creative play ideas.  I struggle with how to fill the hours.

And when it gets close to time for Daddy to come home, I count the minutes.  Not because I don’t love spending time with Burrito but because my mind can only fasten itself on the mindset of a toddler for so long.

I wonder how much active play time other moms have with their kids.  Do they stick their little ones in the corner with a pile of toys and let them go at it or do they play with them all day?  And how do they get their housework done?  It’s hard to clean when the little one asks you three times in a row, “What’s that noise?”  For the 70th time that day.  It’s hard to write a letter when your toddler keeps trying to grab the pen.

So, we divide the day up into portions.  I give myself little breaks throughout the day.  She is perfectly capable of doing some playing on her own now.  We eat breakfast together, then I take a shower while she plays by herself.  Then we usually end up doing something together.  Then lunch, followed by story and nap.  After nap, it’s snack time and try to come up with something else to do together.

I do better some days, better than others.  Some days I am SUPER MAMA, full of creative ideas and energy.  Some days I am SUPER TIRED MAMA, finding it difficult to summon the energy. 

I hope I am doing right by Burrito.  She really is a wonderful child and it is a miracle to see her grow and change each day.  But sometimes I just wish I had more ideas and energy.

Anybody else out ever feel like that?


  1. I feel you. It's getting better here, partially because Miss is learning to play by herself, partially because I am getting better at remembering that a half an hour focused completely on her and whatever strange game she's made up will go a LONG way, and partly...

    ...(Now, this is a secret, but not anymore)...

    I let her "help" me clean. She helps push the vacuum, or I let her use the little hand-held one all by herself. She has her own broom. She has her own spray bottle (water) and rag, and helps me dust. She sorts out the socks while I fold the rest of the laundry...

    And she thinks it's The. Best. Game. Ever. Double win!

    For the other stuff, I take advantage of potty time, snack & Sesame Street time and naptime to get the really serious stuff done.

    But you're right, some days when she smiles winsomely at me and asks "You want to play with the Gabey-babies and the Gabey-baby stuff with me?" I desperately want to say No.

  2. Rebecca, it's normal. She's your first and she doesn't have a sibling to play next to yet. My technique is to experience as much of life WITH him as possible, whatever that looks like. Just meet his needs. If he needs alone time, let him. If he needs a playmate, provide it. If I need to get something done, he has a choice: He can help, or he can play with a suggested toy. Mostly he chooses to come along and help. But the most important thing, I've found, is to be okay with slowing down. To slow down and look for the gift God is holding out for you in each moment. Soon these moments will be gone. You only have right now.

  3. So, you have like one focused half hour time with the Miss each day or more than one? I feel like I spend much of my day, trailing through the house with Burrito trailing behind me asking for stuff.:-)

    The idea about having her help you clean is a great one. I have done that some but I like the idea to let the toddler have her own cleaning supplies, etc.

  4. Kati, thanks for the comment. I like the idea about giving our toddlers an option to either help or play with a suggested toy. Burrito does like to help...sometimes she likes to take over, though! Eek!

    I do try to slow down and enjoy the moments. Whenever I am having a tough day, I have tried to make it a practice to remind myself that I will long for these days one day.

    Thanks for the ideas and encouragement!

  5. Oh, it sounded like I only spend a half hour with her each day. Oops.

    What I meant was that I find it's really easy to get through the day exactly as you said, with Miss trailing along behind me asking for stuff, me feeling guilty that I sometimes find it trying to play with her as much as she wants me to, and eventually, her having the dreaded whine attack.

    If I spend some amount of time every day (I used a half an hour as an example) completely focused on her, doing whatever it is she wants, like colouring or playing with her magnets or whatever, then I find she is happier the rest of the day while I'm working away at what I need to. Some days if she's really in need of attention I have to do it a few times, just to make her feel special.

    It doesn't work every day though, that's for sure.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...