Saturday, September 21, 2013

On the Subject of Two-Year-Olds, Part 2

(The following is the second part in my series of observations on two-year-olds)

2. Don't expect a two-year-old to understand when "it's not a good time" for certain activities or requests. It's always a good time.

If I'm on the phone, it's a good time to ask me very urgently if I remember what bees make. If I'm up to my eyeballs in managing a furious baby brother, it's a very good time to ask me where the piece of the horse puzzle went, and inform me that I need to find it. If we're really, really, not-gonna-make-it late getting out the door to get to an appointment, it's an excellent time to put my shoes on over his own and then announce his feet are stuck. If I'm flat on my back recovering from surgery (which I was, lately), it's an especially good time to ask for a ride from Mama Horse.

Different priorities, that's all.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

On the Subject of Two-Year-Olds, Part 1

I've learned so much about two-year-olds in the past six months of living with one and being around others. They're such neat people ("neat" as in "interesting", not as in "tidy". Bwahahaha!... no no, not tidy...).

Their feelings are so genuine, and they don't do things halfway. They're funny, smart, observant (too observant), extremely lovable and lots of fun... even on those days when you find yourself saying, "That's it! I've had it. I'm outta here. I'm going to Italy to Eat, Pray, Love."

I have made a few observations, which I'll share with you in this series entitled,

"On the Subject of Two-Year-Olds".

1. Misconceptions: You might mistakenly think a two-year-old is "shy"...

... but sometimes you just have to give them five minutes.

Give him a chance to get acquainted, and he'll talk the hind legs off a mule. Just like his Mama.

It's not just our family, though. We hosted some little buddies for his second birthday back in the winter, and most of them went through the standard hide-behind-the-legs ritual during greetings. Lots of  sing-songy "Say 'hello' to so-and-so"s from parents, but few actual 'hello's to be had. Two minutes later, they're strutting around like they owned the place, eating crackers and telling their life story.

They're not necessarily shy. They just need a chance to warm up, that's all (I, too, can be reserved until I get to know people well. I just don't hide behind anyone's legs).

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

A Real Balancing Act

The days can be a real balancing act trying manage the logistics of parenting a baby and older toddler. One day soon they'll play together, and we'll barely notice the 21-month difference. Right now, though, these early, physically demanding years are what I believe they call being "in the trenches".

The kids (now 2.5 and almost 9 months) are both at ages known for dependency and not for patience. Otherwise, their needs are pretty much all different, from eating to sleeping to playing. We have one who needs to nap, and another who wants to get going. One who can't yet walk, another who wants to climb all over everything.  One who loves to play with coins, and another who tries to eat everything.

There's us at the playground, me trying to help Big Bro navigate monkey bars (read: hold his entire weight while he touches each bar) at the same time as Little Bro dangles in the Snugli. I pulled a muscle just thinking about it now.

And yet, both are also at TOTALLY ADORABLE and fascinating ages, and I just want to hug and squeeze them to bits and lie on the floor with them and bask in all the "they're only small once" stuff and milestones and stories and shaking sillies out and more hugs and one-on-one time. And I want to do it to the same extent that I could do it when I had just one kid.

And, oh yeah, take care of myself and make food and do dishes and all that stuff that I used to do when days included a "nap time".

I'm a smart person who understands logically this is not possible, but somehow, I catch myself thinking that I should be able to manage all of my attention all of the time to each kid. I get myself all strung out thinking there must be a way I can cuddle one and wrassle with the other at the same time.

They're only young once! Savour every minute! ACK! I'm trying!

So it's an adjustment to process reality, even if I knew rationally this is how it goes, and sometimes I find myself feeling all bad for whichever kid is not getting the attention or whomever I'm missing out on. Aww, poor Big Bro is wandering around with a laundry basket on his head because he's been waiting all morning for his brother to wake up and eat before we can go out. Or, aww, poor Little Bro is all sleep-deprived because he's been tagging along at all his brother's activities. The humanity, I know.

I know they're fine. And I know it's good for them to have their own time to play and, you know, contemplate life. Good for me, too. Still though. I sometimes picture what goes through their minds...