Two is an interesting age. Stinkerbelle is two, in all its random, emo, listening-impaired glory, but it has its good points as well as its struggles. I plan what I do with my time when she is awake with her twoness in mind. I am trying to temper my reactions to everything That Baby does with, “Well, you’re TWO.”
And if you can do that, then there’s some of the battle won. But it is not always easy.
Today, we are trying to spend some time outdoors. It is warm and breezy, so we can sit in the front of the house where there is shade in the morning, and then plan to be out back in the sun and shade after naptime. So I have been trying to come up with things to do outside with a two year old.
Some days, she likes to walk. And walk and walk and walk. Whether she is pushing her babies in their stroller or just walking with Dorothy in hand, she likes to walk.
But not today. Today? Is NOT for walking.
Believe me, I tried.
We walked with her babies, for a bit. Say, 200 metres. And then, she decided to sit down on the sidewalk amid someone else’s drawings in sidewalk chalk. And go no further. So I found myself cajoling and compromising with and exhorting and just generally nagging at a small person covered in purple and yellow chalk who has absolutely no intention of recognizing my presence.
There will be NO WALKING TODAY. So we went home.
There’s not much for a two year old to do at home today, apparently, outside. There are no kids to play with, or at least, none outside today, which is unfortunate because they are an excellent way to keep That Baby amused for quite some time. So we must look to ourselves for amusement. And that is a challenge. Blowing bubbles held no appeal today. Reading books diverted her only momentarily. And many toys are not a good option. We live on a hill, so riding her bike, playing with a stroller, playing with a ball, ALL are ill-advised. Unless you wish to a) supervise constantly to keep whatever rolly object she is playing with from rolling away down the hill to much baby giggling, or 2) allow your child to careen out into traffic on or in pursuit of said rolly object.
Neither looked like much of an option today.
All That Baby wanted to do, for AN HOUR, was sit and lick my keys. So, I grabbed our weed puller and a basket to take care of the front lawn, while she sat on the step, keys in varying degrees of hand and mouth.
Well, there are worse things in the world to lick. The cat, gravel, and the car all come to mind. Believe me, she’s licked them all. So in the grand scheme of things, my keys are not so bad. And it keeps her mostly in one place as she is too absorbed in having the keys in her mouth to do anything else.
It works for us.
But that, too, eventually became boring, and I would look up from my weeding to find my daughter had somehow teleported over to the neighbour’s porch.
She did this a couple of times. So, either the keys/mouth combination has some magical time/space altering properties, or That Baby is getting bored AND fast.
So we needed to find something else to do.
But here’s the thing: on days like this, Stinkerbelle has no discernible intention of listening to my suggestions of going for a walk, or reading some books, or whatever, and her own suggestions of wandering off, licking various things, and running out into traffic are not going to work for me. Don’t even THINK about suggesting going into the backyard — a safe, enclosed, flat expanse of grass and toys and other fun things, but where there is NO POSSIBILITY OF KIDS!! — without Teh Big Drama, and lots of crying and wailing and gnashing of teeth. So, no matter what we choose, there’s bound to be either boredom or tears from That Baby a lot of the time.
Another problem is that the average two year old has the attention span of a gnat or a bowl of pudding or a soap dish, and so even if you DO find something to amuse them, it will last only about 45 seconds, if you are lucky, before they are on to the next thing. So once the book is “read”, it is heaved off the porch. Once the playdoh is “played with”, it is chucked off the tray. Once the shapes cease to amuse with their varied shapey-ness… well, you get the idea.
And often, when this happens? It is YOUR FAULT. Or the TOY’s fault.
Well, it is SOMEBODY’S FAULT. Oh, the humanity!! And a great wailing will occur.
But then, the upside is that a two year old’s day lasts, what, 5 hours or so, from breakfast to lunch, and a goodly portion of that time is occupied with eating and changing diapers and such, and then comes the blessed naptime and then it’s like a NEW DAY, as she wakes up renewed and refreshed and starts over again with an optimistic attitude and a renewed outlook on Things To Do Today.
Some days, it is very hard being two. But as long as I can keep perspective, keep reminding myself that This Is TWOOOOOOO!!! (“This Is SPARTAAAAAA!!!!”) and just going with WHATEVER with a sense of humour and calm, then it is not so bad being a two year old’s mother.