Planting Seeds and the Quest for a Quiet Life
A successful day for a toddler is deemed as one where they’ve felt that THEY have been in control for the majority of the time. If you own a toddler, I am sure you are well aware of this and have undoubtedly developed a full repertoire of coping strategies just to get through each day without reaching for the wine bottle before wine o’clock.
Particularly savvy parents will have refined the art of planting an idea in such a way that their little person shortly afterwards presents it as their own, thus leading to a win-win scenario.
The opportunities for giving yourself an imaginary high-five or for secretly punching the air in triumph are, let’s face it, few and far between in the land of parentdom. Therefore, I feel the need to blow my own trumpet on this subject.
So far today today, I have surreptitiously managed to persuade The Boy to:
- Choose to wear a warm jumper by alluding earlier to his love of birds, but in particular owls (his warmest jumper has an owl on the front):
“I want to wear THIS one.”
- Clean his teeth in the morning (a very hit and miss affair here, I’m afraid) by selecting Clarabella Crocodile to read upon waking up: ‘She brushes and brushes and brushes her crocodile teeth.’ Thank you An Vrombaut:
“NO! NOT downstairs yet; I haven’t bushed my teeef.”
- Eat his breakfast in record time (The Boy’s habit of eating slowly is the cause of much personal stress and frustration) by eating mine greedily with much dramatic emphasis in role Daddy Pig. The boy does like a bit of am-dram.
- Ride on his buggy board to our Maraca Jacks class (he loves to walk but it triples the journey time) by talking during breakfast about what a big boy thing it is to do; then being able to point out a very happy looking boy ‘racing’ past the window on the school run on one:
“NO! I not want to walk. Buggy board, buggy board!”
- Go upstairs to the class in the lift with me and Pipsqueak in the buggy (this lift is a particularly antiquated, noisy press-and-hold-the-button type one and he prefers the stairs) by talking on the journey about the ‘magic lift’ (he is ‘into’ magic since seeing a Meg and Mog DVD):
“Can we go in the magic lift? PEEEASE?”
- Leave the park after the allocated 30 mins (usually involves a tantrum) by talking about numbers and counting pushes on the swing, then reminding him of all the numbers on the houses and signs on the walk back (he is a bit obsessed ATM):
“Can we go now? I want to do a NUMBER hunt!”
- Happily eat eggy bread for lunch by reminding him on the walk home that he had collected some eggs from Grandma’s neighbour’s hens last week (these were not those eggs; he didn’t need to know that!).
“Eggy bread! Yummy – I WANTED that!”
And it is only nap time! I can definitely chalk today down as a GOOD DAY.
Of course this strategy, like all other parenting-a-toddler strategies, is relentless and exhausting and, let’s face it, cannot be maintained 24-7 unless you are properly super-human.
Factor in toddler tiredness, parental sleep-deprivation, time deadlines, siblings with their own wants and needs or any number of other challenges that occur in a standard day, and ALL control can and does go out the window. Like it probably will this afternoon. But we all have to celebrate small victories, don’t we? Happy toddler = slightly less frazzled mum.