Thursday, May 22, 2008

Assisting in Annoyance

Owen walks over to me and says, "help please," and hands me a coffee can filled to the brim with small toys and the lid. How can I resist a child in need? I rearrange the toys so the lid will fit and quickly hand it back to him. Apparently I'm not too smart before I've had the appropriate amount of coffee or maybe it's a case of pregnancy brain, but as soon as Owen reacquires his treasure, I am regretting my benevolent nature. For what was once a quiet room is now filled with the musings of a small child and his make shift maraca. I am left facing a very important question; why would I assist my child in annoying me? Thankfully two and a half year olds have a very short attention span and he has moved on to tantalizing tasks like collecting every ball from around the house and lining them up by size (OCD much?). Of course he doesn't realize that each of these tasks adds 1-2 minutes onto my "what I have to do before I get out of the house" list. And if I make him clean it all up, 5-6 minutes added easily. Which brings me to a dilemma? Do I selfishly spare myself 3-4 minutes per check box and do it myself, or attempt to teach my son good cleaning habits at such a young age? The correct answer? It depends on the day. Today I have more time to focus on the details and therefore will be singing the "Clean Up" song with Owen while following him around the house in hopes that several toys will make their way to their proper homes. On other days life is more rushed requiring me to get what I can get done in a timely fashion (and their is nothing fashionable about it), and on these days I skip the lesson and hope to get out of the house in one piece. Teaching children valuable lessons is hard work. The word "quick" never enters the equation. Parents who do this well must be naturally patient and detail oriented, because quite frankly, I suck at it. This is probably why Owen is not potty trained yet, because it's just as much work, consistent work for that matter, for me as it is for him. You have to remember to take him to the potty every time he takes a sip of water. I'm lucky if I remember to do it after nap time. It could be too that he fights sitting on the potty. Maybe I don't want to fight with him, and maybe I shouldn't have too, and maybe I'm just making excuses. Who knows? For today, I will fight the battle, teach the lessons, and hopefully help Owen develop a few good habits to counter the bad ones he's already become accustomed to. Tomorrow is a different story. We'll just have to wait and see.

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