My son turned two in December, and recently he has started exploring how to communicate his displeasure in very unmistakable ways. It starts with a high whiny voice saying, “No,” which is followed by a quick escalation to a scream of the same word. We don’t yet have any falling on the ground or any of the other common two year-old ways of showing displeasure. It all revolves around things he thinks he should do and is very upset when he is not allowed. There are very real instances of when this is a good thing. He is not allowed to play with kitchen knives. However, there are times when the situation that is frustrating him stems from my internal image of his capabilities not measuring up to what he is really developmentally able to do. When we have the opportunity to move at his pace, often after I have dropped of my daughter for the morning at her school, we have a half day of lots of yes. Not surprisingly, he is a happy camper in these times. The other day, we arrived home from the school drop off, and I wanted to put the trash cans and recycling bin back. My son really wanted to pull one of the cans himself, so I let him. He was so happy to be doing something real and by himself.
Tag Archives: chores
Mother’s Day, in our house, did not involve the mother much as she was out working with her students. I took the kids grocery shopping and then attempted to do a thorough cleaning of the house. In hind sight, that was foolish, but I tried.
I did get the upstairs bedrooms and the kids’ bathroom scrubbed and mopped. I swept the downstairs. If I keep at it tomorrow, I might get the rest done depending on my son’s sleep.
That was one of the factors that made it hard to get anything done today. Not only did he not really nap, but he also was very cranky all day. Though he tolerated it better, he still hit is limit with the vacuum and stood there screaming at it until I stopped. More surprisingly, though it should not be, was that he was upset by the clean room I was asking him to sleep in. His crib was the same, but the room did not have a dust menagerie to keep him company, and it smelled like Murphy’s Oil Soap.
When I was a kid, my whole family pitched in on the weekend and cleaned house. As the youngest, I am sure I was included in this before I could be of any use but still felt that I was contributing. Both kids got plenty of opportunity to do so during our day of cleaning. My son either walked around with the smaller broom that we got for my daughter or followed me around with my broom when I set it aside. “Dee, dee, dee,” he would say, but that is what he says about everything. In this case, I think it roughly translates to, “Dad, you keep leaving your broom around. You are lucky to have me here to bring it to you.”
Grandma’s good, Grandma’s great, this is who we appreaciate!
This week in St. Louis has been wonderful, and one of the biggest pleasures I have is watching my mom and my daughter together. My mom is able to just be with my daughter in ways that I can’t as a primary caregiver. She also sees what my daughter is able to do and creates opportunities for her that I might not given the slow movement of development I see daily.
On the first day here, they planted some seeds and watched the fast growing “cat grass” sprout and get taller each day. Just today, my daughter asked for a needle and thread to sew on paper. My mom found the last remaining kid’s needle from my childhood and created a schoolhouse pattern at my daughter’s request. She happily washes dishes, makes freshly squeezed orange juice, and rakes leaves.
In other respects, my daughter pushes every boundary my wife and I have set for her, especially the ones around reverting to babyish behavior, incessant repetition of requests, and using things like sippy cups that she has graduated from using.
My mom is an amazing partner in navigating these things, holding firm when it is important and having flexibility for things at Grandma’s house.
Tomorrow, I get up early and return to Boston with my two kids and will happily greet my wife at the airport after a week of soloing (with much support from my mom!).
Today, one of my full days with the kids, was packed. I dropped my daughter off at preschool, did some work there attaching some blinds to a shelving unit, took my car to get some overdue emissions stickers updated, stopped by a bakery that I used to go to weekly when I worked at another school, rushed back to school to get my daughter, took a walk with the kids to the library and the local pasta store, made dinner, made bread, did laundry, handled the dinner/bath/bed routine solo, and more. Amidst all that, though, there were a few moments of calm. While the garage was working on my car, I took my son on a walk around a large lake/reservoir. There has been a significant amount of nature restoration on the lands surrounding the the water, and one side of the park, especially, is fairly shielded from traffic noise. He had his morning nap surrounded by cattails, lapping water, birds singing, and fresh air. In the afternoon upon our return from picking up my daughter, I took my son up for his afternoon nap and lay down on the couch. The sun was streaming in the windows, warming me and brightening the room. I awoke quite a while later. I feel like I accomplished enormous amounts today, but those breaks were vital to creating balance and not arriving at 9:00 feeling completely worn out.