Friday, April 01, 2005

Child-Directed Living

One of the reasons that infancy is so precious is that it's so fleeting. There are only a few months when your little bundle of joy is a snuggly round ball of (mostly!) sweet-smelling baby, content to be carried around all day.

By 18 months, kids are so independent. They run around, they talk, they let you know what they want. And the play, the play - it's child-directed. Child-directed play. Walking around. Talking.
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I wonder if other parents ever think about how much easier it is when you can occasionally put your child down in the store or outside without sitting her on the filthy floor or ground. I wonder if other parents cherish each time their children run up to them with a toy, saying, "show me!" I don't know, because they all seem to talk about how exhausting it is to have to run after toddler all the time, listen to them asking "Dat?! Dat?!" (What's that?) over and over, go to the park again and again.

Ellie is 17 months old. She's a great little babbler and mimic, but she doesn't use language (that I can understand) spontaneously on her own much. She doesn't stand unassisted. She doesn't walk. Things could be so much worse. There are so many things that she does do, and does incredibly, unbelievably well. But -

On days when it's just the two of us at home alone all day, like this week when she's had a cold and we haven't done much, it's so exhausting. I'm exhausted by not running after a toddler. I'm exhausted by mommy-directed play, where I entertain, entertain, entertain, and hope that I happen upon what she wants. It's hard work and it's emotionally exhausting.

Infancy was unbelievably precious, yes. And now, ungrateful me, I am ready for the next phase, please.


Blogger none said...

I can so relate to this post. When son was 3 years old, I kept thinking when is he finally going to do something else?

I had no idea what was going on. I was starting to feel burned out.

Then he began to make some progress around that time which gave me strength to continue the work, but I can´t help thinking how would I have coped if things were worst... lots worst.

No, don´t go there.

I hear you.

3:57 PM  
Blogger trisha said...

I hear you, too. The guessing is so hard, so freaking hard. What I would give to know what the heck he wants to eat, ever....or do, or where he would like to go...anything. Or hear him say he loves me.

11:55 PM  
Blogger Coley said...

Your post rings so true for me too! It was so much easier when Noah was a baby. Now I lug him up the stairs (he is 8) and I need a nap!Thanks for sharing!

1:37 AM  

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