Wednesday, April 27, 2011
I feel like I go through the day, moment to moment, trying to find ways to get the kiddo to stop whining and crying.
I think he's going through a phase. My husband claims he's not having the same problem, but when the boys are out together, they're always DOING something. I am not always DOING something. I spend awhile each day expecting Cloud to entertain himself while I wash dishes or dig dandelions or fold laundry.
But even when I am doing something with him, the kid manages to find some reason to treat life as one grand tragedy. Often about food.
What complicates things is that he's started to say "no" when he might actually want to say "yes." He might be preemptively bracing himself for disappointment in these cases; but while he's doing that, I'm trying to get a straight answer out of him as to whether or not he would like to do X.
It's a good thing he's only three years old, because most of the time I can just force his shoes on and march him into the car and take him to X, where he'll enjoy himself because he actually really likes X.
(X could be the playground, Trader Joe's, the library, the beach... the list goes on. It could be the bank. He likes the bank. The bank has lollipops, and lots of doting female bank tellers to hand him the lollipops even when Mama tells him that 8:30 AM is too early for a lollipop.)
Today we did manage to go to the library. Then we crossed the street to visit the horses. Well, Cloud wanted to visit the horses. I knew that if we walked just past the horses, we'd find ourselves on the grounds of the old abandoned elementary school. (It's only been abandoned for a year and a half, so mostly the grounds and the playgrounds were quite nice, if a bit litter-strewn.)
At age 3, Cloud is firmly in that awkward stage of independence where he can't do much of anything by himself, but he wants to. Well, it's healthy for him to want to. Sometimes I fully expect him to want to do things himself, but instead he plunks down next to me and bawls until I do it for him. He can bawl for quite awhile.
And I'm in that awkward stage where I don't know how much I should interfere. Should I stand back and let him discover the new playground all by himself? Or should I get in with him and teach him how to play? If all he wants to do is kneel at the foot of each slide and ask me to take his picture, should I just snap pictures over and over or should I encourage him to climb on something else?
Ultimately, I tried a mix of both approaches. I went down the widest slide, which was made of metal but still somehow not the least bit slippery. But there wasn't much else on the playground for a person of my size and skill set. So I spent some time sitting on the bench, watching, and then I used the wooden perimeter of the playground as a giant balance beam, an act which intrigued Cloud but was too difficult for him to emulate.
And then we saw the horses again on our way back to the car.
And then he asked for yogurt, and when I told him there would be a whole big lunch when we got home, he cried.
However, once I put the bowl of elbow macaroni and sauce in front of him, he devoured it, happily saying, "Elbows," over and over again, and asking for seconds.