Friday, July 04, 2008

Toddler development (and good friends!)

Yesterday was a terrible day. We had told Jonathan that we would be going to the park to see fireworks in the evening, and instead of being excited about it he spent the entire day whining and throwing fits because we weren't going NOW. I had planned a relaxed, stay-at-home day (we haven't had one of those in a long time) but by 10:24 I was desperate to get out and do SOMETHING that might keep Jonathan distracted. So when I talked to Ashley and she mentioned that they were on their way to the library for story hour and playtime, and it started in six minutes, I hung up rather abruptly, tossed a few things in the diaper bag, grabbed my keys and the kids and ran for the car. It is quite amazing how quickly you can get the kids out the door when you're desperate. :)

I'm not sure how much the excursion helped Jonathan - it certainly didn't curb the whining for long - but it sure helped me to have a sympathetic and intelligent adult to talk with! Thankfully, Ashley isn't the sort of friend who will just say "aw, that's tough" and leave it at that. Instead, she listened to what had been going on and then asked some insightful, constructive questions: things like "are you challenging him enough at home? Maybe he's bored."

I think she's right. Lately Jonathan has taken to wandering around the house saying "What are we doing next? Where are we going?" He does have some activities that he loves doing (digging in the dirt with his work machines, building with Duplos, etc.) but when I sat down and really thought about it I realized that Jonathan has been flying ahead developmentally, while I'm trying to keep him occupied with play ideas from six months ago.

He loves to be creative, and he loves to be challenged, and I need to work on meeting those very reasonable and good desires!

So this morning he helped me make pancakes for breakfast, and then we got out art supplies and he colored and cut and pasted stickers to his heart's content. The American flag he was working on isn't exactly red, white, and blue, but he sure had fun! For quiet time (which is going on now - hence the blogging!) I brought his Duplos into my room so he could build unmolested. (The biggest problem with Duplo play right now is that Thomas' idea of participating is breaking Jonathan's buildings.)

Granted, Gabe is here this morning and it is always easier to kid-wrangle with two parents. Still, this morning has gone so smoothly it is giving me a lot of hope for next week when I'm on my own. I think I just need to pay more attention to keeping him busy and motivated with activities on his level...and be more alert to what that level actually is.

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