Ev is a very busy toddler. He is also quite inquisitive. On our days at home, there’s lots of filling and dumping, asking “What’s that?” and discussing at length what “that” is. It’s nice, once in a while, to stay in PJs and relax at home. I feel like those days give Ev time to “reboot.”
However, it’s exhausting following Ev around the house all day (because you know the second I turn my head he is climbing the model Eifel Tower we have in our dining room or trying to ride our 15 lb. dog). We can’t play outside because of the weather, and I try to limit screen time because I know it’s not appropriate or healthy (though I’d be lying if I said Ev hasn’t watched an episode of Blue’s Clues here and there). Sometimes I just want the time to go by faster, which I feel guilty saying since he is in full-time child care while my husband and I work and people are always saying “you should enjoy every moment because the time flies.” But when I read a blog recently that reminded me that “not every moment is enjoyable as a parent,” I felt a little better.
All Ev wants to do is explore and test boundaries, and although that’s typical development and shows he is learning, it keeps his mom and dad on their toes. He isn’t exactly co-dependent (I can’t carry him around in a baby carrier while I mop) but he isn’t independent, either. I can’t leave him in the living room with blocks while I do the dishes. I can hardly answer emails in the same room, as he needs constant supervision.
Of course we do some activities that I feel really engage him that are different then his normal playing with toys, like cooking or giving him creative art materials. But sometimes, we just need something else to do or I think I’d lose my mind. We have found the answer is going someplace else.
It makes me feel better if the places I take Ev to are an experience for him, not just killing time, or else I am running the risk of over stimulating him or taking him out of our normal eating/napping schedule for no apparent reason. I have found places that are really engaging to Ev and I’m not counting down the minutes until bedtime. He likes the library, the mall and the hardware store. Also, the local grocery store is an excellent place to multi-task. It’s a great learning experience for Ev, as we talk about what fruit we are going to buy and navigate through the aisles. He also enjoys riding in the cars that are attached to some shopping carts, as long as he gets to decide which color car to ride in (and it’s always the one deepest in the shopping cart line). And our favorite past time, weather permitting, is the zoo. We have a really good time together at these places and I truly cherish these moments.
While it’s true that not every moment is enjoyable, I’m doing my best to make those unenjoyable moments a little bit more bearable.