Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Attack of the toddler

Sketches for JUSTIN — 10 in all — are due in less than a week. With all that's transpired over the holidays, I haven't done anything with this book until today. It's time to sketch.

The challenge is that my 4-year-old son is out of school until next week, so he is home with me. We try not to use the television as a babysitter our son although, sometimes, with our crazy schedules, Dora the Explorer makes for a great nanny. I started trying to put my ideas on paper, but as soon as I start making progress, my son goes on the attack. He loads his weapon, cocks the trigger, and starts pelting me with questions, request, demands and statements so fast, I can't seek refuge quick enough. Bomb number one: Dad, can you make my breakfast? Bomb number two: Dad, can you get me something to drink? Bomb number three: Dad, can we go outside to play with my scooter? Bomb number four: Dad, I need a band-aid on my owie (he fell off the scooter). Bomb number five: Dad, I'm firsty (like pronouncing thirsty as firsty will add a cuteness factor that I won't be able to resist). This is just a simple sampling of the ammunition he has been using for the past three hours, and I've promised myself, I ain't gonna get mad...I ain't gonna get mad...I ain't gonna get mad. But mine is a simple mind, not able to process all that he's lobbing at me so quickly. He's breaking me down. I’m about to crack. I’ve got to fight back, or surrender, ‘cause I gotta get these sketches done.

Dora the Explorer to the rescue! And when Dora's video runs out, there's always Sesame Street, Little Bill and Jay-Jay the Jet Plane. I've lost the last few battles, but I'm gonna win the war!


ShellyP said...

Good luck to you. If I had to stay home with Sid all day for a week I'd go mad. Don't get me wrong, I love him to death, but I need at least one break in the middle of day!

rindambyers said...

Well, I've got a 9 year-old and 12-year-old coming over tomorrow morning to watch movies while I type in the other room. They're bored out of their skulls with Christmas vacation, and they are lively enough. I won't get as much typing done as I would by myself, but I will get some done; they're pretty good, but one thing that helps me out to get my work done is that they help entertain each other, and they leave to go to the park to run and play when they get too restless.

I think your son misses his buddies at school. If you get the right playmate in at vacation time, they can keep each other pretty occupied. However, you need the right playmate, a child who will mind your house rules and who will play well with your son. Children have strong preferences in playmates if allowed to choose, so it needs to be someone he likes.

And your son must be going nuts seeing Daddy with all that neat art stuff that kids love so much, the paints, the pencils, the markers, the scissors, the glue, the paper....the mess! I'm sure he wnats to do just like Daddy some of the time, so maybe you can get him a little desk of his own in a corner of your studio that he can work at on his own projects and make small messes himself as a SPECIAL PRIVILEGE if he is quiet and works in a grown up way like Daddy. If he won't work quietly, then take away the desk privileges for a bit and offer something else with his own toys to do.

Another thing that adults just seem to forget with little ones, and it is so easy, considering like for me how CREAKY and stiff I am in my older age, is that little ones need lots and lots of exercise. If he's restless or not able to settle down, take him outside wtih a timer and have him run around the house or down and back from the sidewalk and time him and keep track of his times, that kind of thing. Or take a run with him. Pretend there are wild tigers chasign you....or pit bulls....

I babysat three small nephews all day one day, and we had a WONDERFUL day and I had the house clean, dinner started, and all my sewing projects completed with three very happy boys. My sister couldn't believe her eyes when she got back. My secret? We went out twice in the dinky little trailer park where they lived and chased bears all around the trailer park...oh it was fun! The boys were EXHAUSTED and had a wonderful long nap... I used to ALWAYS take my twos adn threes during Sunday Service nursery hour at church outside for a walk before snack or if rainy, we'd go upstairs into an empty classroom and have crawling and wiggling races and on all fours races...being elephants and snakes and tigers and oh whatever animals I could think up. Parents always came in after church to find their children contented and happy to see them, the room clean and teacher smiling!!! Worked every time! So give that wiggler of yours some good exercise every day, okay? And a little desk of his own, too so he can do grownup work just like Daddy some of the time, too.

He sounds like a WONDERFUL BOY!