December 18, 2013

Busy Hands


For many months my parenting dial has been set to survival mode. All the twists and turns of pregnancy, then life with a new baby, has consumed a lot of the space previously devoted to planning activities and crafts with my toddler (as well as updating this space- hello there!). There was a time when I would set up projects for Little Smith at least three times a week, and even lay out a schedule, balancing activities. Now I often can't account for what we did in a given day, or month even.


Initially the guilt and frustration with all that I can't seem to make happen was dragging me down, but lately I've been able to change my attitude and give myself a big break. With a new unburdened perspective, I'm making note of all the little toddler friendly activities that we actually do pull off. There are the usual puzzles and drawings and block building, but more often it's just the mundane tasks that seem to challenge and stretch Little Smith's skill-set..


Taking the time to involve him in basic chores (baking, sweeping, feeding the cat) can actually be plenty engaging. Everything does take longer with a three year old's help, but it's also more fun and I don't have to exhaust myself constantly trying to be creative. I have found that my motivation for creativity is greatly diminished with months of sleep deprivation!

I am still holding my breath for new bursts of energy and organization, visions of a grand vegetable garden are already keeping me warm in this early winter. In the meantime, this week we've been eating our home fries with chopsticks and sorting darks from lights. That's quite a full plate for us, and I am beginning to accept 'good enough' as 'plenty good' for now.

10 comments:

  1. Good on you for letting go of some of the guilt. My two are challenging me so much lately...perhaps I need to take some of your advice. x

    ReplyDelete
  2. You are so right! Not only does it challenge his thinking, but he is learning how to do things that need doing. I know you want to do it all, but you actually already are! Which is a very odd sentence, but I hope you get my gist lol

    ReplyDelete
  3. You are doing better than you think! I'm always surprised when people say things that reveal their assumptions about my constant involvement with my children and their tasks and activities. The truth is, I give them tons of space and they come up with activities on their own- I am really busy with household tasks and cooking, generally! I may set them up with a task if they are all up in my business, but generally I don't do anything structured for them unless they ask! Story time once or twice a day is a given (always before bedtime or nap time), but everything else is free time!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have the summers off, and last summer I got all gung-ho about what we were going to do with all of our time together (me and my two toddlers who were 2 and 3 years old at that point). Because the kids were getting old enough for some new adventures and I had just begun to feel like my head was above water with parenting and life, I was looking forward to the long, sunny, open days ahead to really get down to actively doing good stuff together. We probably did 10 planned activities in the first two days (forts! baking! paint! museum! library! play date! etc!). And you're probably laughing now because holy cow that was exhausting and wow. Regular old life itself is pretty active, educational, and engaging for little ones. (Also, when I need perspective I try to visualize scenes from the film Babies. I think I might go watch that one again right now.) Happy Holidays!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think they learn so much just by watching us do things about the house and out in the world and then following suit. Sounds like you are doing a great job to me!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Back when I wrote my old blog and my little one's were these ages, I wrote such a similar post. And a comment that was left stayed with me (and still does): Your children just want to be with you. Nothing else matters.

    You are an amazing mama! x

    ReplyDelete
  7. Love that you referred to being in survival mode! You mentioned that in another post and I have since adopted it. I tell myself "you're still in survival mode" when I need to cut myself a little slack, which is daily, these last four months! He sure does look like one happy little boy!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I'm sure you are doing amazingly well! I think I have been in survival parenting mode for 9 years! (since the second child came along). ;)

    P.S. just sent you an email

    Jo

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think you've got it just right and though I say that I am also glad for the reminder. I try to think of activities now and then but really our days go most smoothly when I just get on with things and involve her the best I can (obviously a bit more limited with what she can do at this stage). I do love those little acorns though and the activity he is doing with them. Such a wonderful idea.

    ReplyDelete
  10. You're doing such a great job balancing with 2 littles. It's not easy, and it can get pretty frustrating once that baby is on the move! Having W work with you is a really good way to spend a little quality time, I do the same, even though you are so right. Everything takes 3x as long!

    ReplyDelete