Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Little G is at a challenging stage. Let's not kid here...he seems to always be at a challenging stage. And yes, I am very aware that the reality is that I find his stages challenging...he doesn't realize he has stages.

Anyway, this newest stage seems to have taken away his ability to keep himself entertained for any amount of time. He has to be where I am at all times and if I am 'ignoring him' re: trying to look something up online or read a magazine or make dinner or clean something he immediately starts doing something that he knows he's not allowed to turn the knobs on the kitchen stove or try to dive off the dining room table.

If he isn't doing that, than he is following me around the house with his hands up in the air and whining at me to pick him up. When I pick him up, he snuggles for 2-3 seconds, wraps my ponytail around his fingers, then decides that's enough snuggling and dives for the floor adamant that I must release him from this hold immediately. The he commences standing under my feet again and whining.

Believe me, I love the snuggles. He's never been a snugly kid. I can't count the number of times he's fallen asleep on me (or even near me, for that matter - other than his naps in the Moby wrap as an infant) on one hand because it's never happened. So, I love the snuggling. But there really is only so much I can take before my back starts to really hurt and my mind starts to remember all the things I need to be doing. And the truth of the matter is, I need him to be able to play on his own.

He used to be able to do this just much so that we have stopped using baby gates in our house (except for a very prominent one in front of our very active and very hot wood stove). He doesn't need them because for months we have been able to trust him not to turn the knobs on the kitchen stove, or try to dive off the dining room table. But I'm starting to think I should just suck it up that we seemed to be regressing and put them all back up again.

Because my two options to get ANYTHING done around here are to be completely engaged with him at all times. Or turn on Elmo.

I should mention that he's at the end of a 2nd hour...HOUR...of Elmo as I write this.

I suck.

But I can't be engaged all the time. Even if the reason is that I'm updating something as banal as blog. I need my time. And I need him to be able to entertain himself without the constant crack pipe of a certain pint sized, red, fuzzy monster with an pipsqueak voice.

I am not going beat myself up about not being engaged with him all day, every day, but I do wonder how the home-school mommies do it. Is it just this age - or are they engaged with their children 24/7? Do they get frustrated by it - or are they just better mommies than me?

No time to think about it...Elmo just sang his 'swimming' song so I now have t-minus 45 seconds to get re-engaged.


...and we're watching Elmo again. 2 hours of whining and tantruming and I gave up. One purposly quiet mention of the word Elmo and he perked right up and stood quietly by the TV waiting for me to turn it on.

Am I being played here? Is THIS what they are talking about when they say your toddler is manipulating you? Because I CAN'T ENGAGE WITH HIM minute after minute, hour after hour.


  1. I too, find that engaging with a baby is one of the most difficult things about being a mother. And I know that this will last at least a few more years, and I can't wait until she can entertain herself.

    I think that you're doing a GREAT job as a mom and don't think you should be second-guessing yourself at all; after all, you're probably the online mommy blogger I look up to the most (I know I don't comment often, but I always make sure to read your posts).

    And unless you are lucky enough to be able to afford a nanny, all mothers are entitled to their "me" times — even if that means leaving the kiddo with Elmo for a couple of hours.

  2. Yes, of course you're being played. I encourage you to let it happen more often. Really. As long as you have some sense of limits, there's no harm in it. You need the non-engaged time, and he's at an age where self-engagement is really hard. I'd suggest as reading anything related to the Montessori method, because you can typically adapt that for your own needs. But seriously, my babysitter is named Dora. Her emergency subs are Diego, Thomas, and Mickey.

  3. He knows you're there, and you don't have to engage al day long. Or maybe I'm just a lazy ass of a mother who needs to do more engaging, but I digress. My kid is doing great. I think one of my commenters called it "Independent Development Time." Go with that.