When I was pregnant I signed up for weekly updates on the development of my little bun in the oven from babycenter.com. Little did I know these updates would continue for, well, ever. I just received “Your 21 month year old, Week 4.” I envision someday receiving, “Your 18 year old, Week 3” in the hopefully distant future. So I am reminded weekly of how quickly the days go when raising a child. Dylan will be two on July 3rd. For now, he’s content to amuse us with his new discoveries in speech and coordination each day. Today he figured out that if he moved his stool to the kitchen counter when I wasn’t looking, he could snatch a mushroom off the counter and stuff it in his mouth before I could say “small bites please.” In addition, I’ve gleaned the following pearls of wisdom from this walking jabberbox.
Pearl of Wisdom #1: Stuffed Animals Must Be on a Strict Rotation
Now this may be common sense to some, but I was not aware that the best toddler etiquette dictates spreading the wealth when it comes to loving up stuffed animals. When Dylan was quite young he liked Scout (the green dog in the picture). Scout plays music and lights up so he has an unfair advantage. As Dylan grew and developed a more specific taste, he had a short turn with Santa Bear (whose rear end you see just over Dylan’s left shoulder), but the longest run, attention-wise, has been Ernie and Elmo. Elmo makes obnoxious sounds when you shake him so you can imagine how excited said parents were about this new attachment. He refers to the two as an inseparable pair; “Ernie Ernie Elmo” is what the set goes by. Recently, however, Yellow Monster has been edging Ernie out. Elmo is always popular because, as I said, he makes annoying sounds, but Ernie is falling by the wayside. Just this morning, Dylan insisted that Scout and Yellow Monster hug as Ernie was cast, neglected, on the bathroom floor. I can’t fault the child, he has a lot of friends- stuffed albeit – but friends just the same and it is important to spread the love. I certainly wouldn’t want him developing an unhealthy reliance on one friend at the cost of his many other equally delightful friends. Tonight, however, the whole clan was lined up at the end of the bed so obviously they’re all getting along quite nicely.
Pearl of Wisdom #2: Know What You Want and then Accept No Substitute
Toddlers typically know what they want (except, of course, when they have no idea of what they want) and in those cases, when they do in fact know what they want, they had damn well better get it or watch out world! Perhaps I myself could be a bit more assertive with my own goals and aspirations. Who am I to compromise at the sake of getting along with others? Dylan has millions of books (the curse of having an English teacher for a mom I suppose). Lately he has been quite picky about which books he’ll tolerate at bedtime. Sometimes I try to ignore his subtle signs because I’ve picked out a book that I actually want to read, but that just results in a violent swing of his hand as he knocks the book from my hands and says, “No!” or “No Mama!” when he’s really had it! Some books he is interested in, but he insists on doing the reading himself. We would be wise to learn this sense of self from the toddlers in our lives.
Pearl of Wisdom #3: The Outdoors is ALWAYS an Exciting Place to Be
As the weather has slowly been warming up, Dylan and I have had many afternoons outdoors – especially since Husband is spending all of his time working on that dumb chicken coop. Following Dylan around the yard (which is basically what I do for hours on end) has helped me to appreciate the small things. We get to stop and inspect each new bud and every spring flower. Then we say “ooh, pretty” and other such analytical things. We run up and down the small hill that dips down the side of our yard and yesterday we rolled a ball down it, again and again and again. Each time the ball came to a slow stop at the bottom Dylan would squeal with delight then run after it.
This past weekend we celebrated, not Easter, but spring. We worked in the yard and planted potatoes, onions, and asparagus. I raked and weeded half of the garden, while Dylan sat idly by dumping piles of rich, black dirt on his feet and legs. He did help me to carve out little ditches for the potatoes, but had so much fun handing the potatoes to me from the bag that he decided he needed to keep one for his own. I tried to persuade him to plant the darn thing in the ground, but (see Pearl of Wisdom #2) it was to no avail. So there is one lone Kennebec potato spud rolling somewhere around the backyard (he eventually lost interest in it). It’s probably in the sandbox.
In addition, the chickens are growing quickly and we let the turkeys out and chased them around the yard a bit. They mostly chirped for their chicken friends so the field trip was short lived. Husband is putting the finishing touches on the run this evening so hopefully we’ll have pictures up soon!