Today began with me being woken up . . . by my husband. This is rare. He’s usually gone really early and I am always up either when Luke wakes up or before. I am cursed with the inability to sleep in. Mind you my husband woke me at 7:15 (not sleeping in by most standards). If allowed I probably could have slept till 8 but my husband had to leave and the little guy was waiting for me!
So, I started the day tired.
Never an effective way to start a day when you have a toddler to keep busy.
I wasn’t in a terrible mood but I wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows either. After I fed him I decided to try a new sensory activity with him. I felt proud for being creative and doing an activity instead of setting him in front of the T.V. like I really wanted to (this would without a doubt need to happen later).
I had an activity in my "queue" I had been wanting to use and remembered from when I was in daycare you know, back in the day. I grabbed a zip lock bag, shaving cream and food colors and we took it outside.
Side note, before having a child I was a teacher. While I did work with autism as well as preschool aged children there was still a bit of order I appreciated as I taught a lesson or provided an activity. As a mom however, you don't always get the same kind of reaction from your child as you would a student, especially not from an "almost" two-year-old.
First thing he did was get excited about the food color containers, grab them and refuse to relinquish them for the project. This is where a big challenge comes into play for me... I want control of the project because I know what we're doing and I have expectations of him as my little student.
He has other plans.
After a few attempts to get a food color from him I decided to go through with the project in hopes to get him to participate. I used my "enthusiastic teacher" voice and proceeded to demonstrate how I was opening the Zip-lock, putting the shaving cream into it, and then I said:
"Oh look! I need that color! What color should we use?"
Because I was approaching the color situation in a new way he was intrigued and gave up one of the bottles. I was super excited because we were finally getting somewhere!
Once I squeezed in a few drops and zipped up the bag I was so happy to show him that he could push around the shaving cream, mix the food coloring etc... He grabbed the bag, fluffed it like a pillow twice,
I was mid-sentence saying:
"Look! The green is . . ." when he tossed it on the ground and wanted the can of shaving cream.
What came next is what makes me proud and thinking that maybe I might be getting a hang of this toddler thing . . . as if that were possible.
I know my kid. He’s messy. He’s hands on. He wants that shaving cream all over him. So, I asked him hey do you want to touch this? Do you want it on the table? His eyes lit up and he enthusiastically padded his tummy like an ape. So away went my clean and contained sensory project and out came shaving cream onto his table and All. Over. His. Body.
Moral of the story he had fun. We did an activity that was together as well as outside. Did it happen the way I wanted it to? No. But it happened the way he wanted it to.
It’s a toddler’s world and were there to let them live in it! They have certain expectations of the world and how they want to discover it. We can best foster their learning and growing by letting them discover in their own way. This is hard no doubt because it'
s not our way and as an adult getting down to a child's level is not always easy, but always worth it.
Who else struggles with this? Gets frustrated? Mad? I do ALL the time. Today was an example of how life won’t stop because I let go of my expectations. I often have the habit of shutting down when my “picture” of how things should be gets blurry. Having a strong-willed toddler is challenging me and helping me to see that plans were made to be broken.