Just when I felt like I had this motherhood thing under some control, I’m hit with yet another puzzle to solve…
Over the past couple of days, there’s been only one question constantly playing on my mind ‘Why doesn’t my son just play with his toys and self-entertain for a minute?’ here I am wanting to do nothing fancy but to wash the dishes and some quick housework, just to keep things neat, and here’s my baby boy right in the way of me doing anything and everything.
I’ve noticed that the moment I would turn on the water tap he’d run screaming into the kitchen and would cry or moan.
He’d then push me away from the kitchen counter and try to climb on me or the counter. That’s something I haven’t seen before.
At first, I thought that he was scared of something. However, after checking every possible scenario it became evident that he would act this way any time I’d start on any housework.
I have never ignored my child or put chores before him, never! I would just usually do things in the background whilst he’d be playing or when he was napping.
However, the past few days he would stop doing whatever he would be doing and would just run into the kitchen preventing me from doing anything.
‘Come on baby, you have so many toys, just play with them for a minute whilst mummy finishes the dishes’ yeah, right. He wouldn’t give in. He’d do this over and over again.
Ok, so now I have a child who won’t let me do anything unless I play with him so I have a little attention seeking maniac…I thought at one point.
There must be a way for me to distract this persistent little bundle of joy and get him to play with his toys so I can do bits I need to do. I mean, I can only skip so many days before we start running out of dishes.
How to keep my baby busy
That’s how my quest to distract my fourteen months old little monster started.
First on my mind were Books. My boy loves to look at books and he gets so excited when we read them together. Aha, that’s the problem – together…So books didn’t work.
Next, Stacking cubes? no, he’d get bored the same instance he’d figure out that there’s no-one to stack the cubes since he only likes to destroy my precisely built towers.
Plush toys are just boring…
How about music? my boy loves music, so I’d put some music on and he’d dance until he’d realize that I’d be making slow steps towards the kitchen.
After trying a thousand and one things, I was starting to feel like I was doing something wrong.
At one point I told him off and said that mummy had to get things done and he needed to learn to understand that…
Here I’m telling my fourteen months old boy that he needs to learn to understand that mummy needs to wash dishes… Silly me!
I just wanted him to be like other kids and go and play and have fun with the toys he has.
That’s when it hit me. I wanted my boy to be like some other kids… Who said other kids were independent at playing or self-entertainment and most importantly, even if they were, why would I want my boy to be like other kids?!
NO! I HAD TO STOP AND REWIND!
It doesn’t matter what other kids do or don’t do, what matters is what my boy sees important and how he feels about things.
There were so many things wrong with this whole situation.
1. Dishwashing isn’t important! But it comes to a point when you can’t move a step away from your baby and it’s difficult when you are a stay at home mum for the moment and have a household to take care of.
2. My baby is my world and in return, I am his world so of course, he would only want to do things with me. There’s nothing wrong with my boy and I should not wish otherwise as I am his favourite! up before I know it and then what am I going to do when he’d be too busy for his mama.
3. When you are tired and the tiredness you are tired with has been building up for a while in addition to the constant lack of sleep, as it is in my case, as a result, you get easily frustrated, crazy inflammable, unnaturally chaotic and an ever confused and overwhelmed mama with a short fuse…not a good combination when all you need is just open up your eyes and look at your child to understand what is it that he is trying so desperately to tell me.
As most parents would agree, in this state you naturally can’t handle even the simplest of puzzles in the same way you would have if you had a good night sleep.
So how can I have it All… I mean I really don’t ask for much, just a happy baby, baby and mama precious time together and clean dishes. Is it that difficult?!
Watch, observe and learn
I told myself to stop and watch my boy in order to understand what is it that I missed in all his attempts to communicate with me.
Until it finally happened and I saw something very important.
My boy didn’t want to play with his toys but he wanted to do all the things I do with me. He wasn’t attention seeking or preventing me from doing things I needed nor was he just getting in the way he was actually trying to do it with me or in a way to help me. I only realized it when he picked up the tissue and started to wipe the floor with it, as I do with antibacterial wipes. He was mimicking me.
How blind I was not to notice my little boy being helpful, even more, so he simply wanted to be a part of what I was doing.
He didn’t need a mounting of toys he knows he can play with later, he needed to be a part of what his mummy was doing.
At his age, he doesn’t understand that what his mummy does is considered housework, as far as he is aware that’s the fun things mum does and he wants to do it too.
In the tired and easily frustrated state that I was, I almost failed to see what my boy was trying to show me time and time again. I felt guilty as I did think that he was just being difficult when he was just communicating with me the best way he knew how.
Well, I’m still learning how to be the best parent I can be, so I guess it’s inevitable that I’d make mistakes.
Let’s do it Together!
From that point on I’ve changed my way about balancing all those things together. Things didn’t have to go My way anymore, Now we had Our way of doing it all.
My boy’s new friend is a four-legged wooden chair Maurice (from the dining set) which he loves to stand or sit on it since he turned one and gave up his high chair. Now, he eats with us at the table like a big boy in his own grown-up chair (I just make sure that the chair stands against the wall in a way that there’s only one way off the chair and I secure it as obviously kids being kids and it’s easy to fall) so now I use our four-legged friend as his little stand whatever we do.
Dishwashing has quickly become one of our favourite things to do. Never thought I’d say this before! The moment my boy hears water running he rushes to his chair and taps the seat with his hand (our secret code to ‘mummy bring on Maurice’), it’s still too high for him to climb by himself. I then move the chair into the kitchen by the sink and help my boy to stand on it so that he can see everything that’s going on in the sink and around. One of my legs is on the chair’s seat behind my son, to make sure that my baby doesn’t fly off it; and just like this Together we wash dishes. We sing he tells me all about his adventures, we splash, we dance a little and we wash dishes.
I realized that I was trying to do those things separately from my son, but why? Of course, I was trying to do the ‘right’ thing, kids play with toys, mother cleans… but things don’t always go according to somebody’s ‘right’ way! And they shouldn’t!!! Life is a lot more fun when things go not the ‘right’ way but your way! And I couldn’t be happier!
We are inseparable! at the moment we are each other’s world! I am his food, his bed, his safe place and hugs, and of course his entertainment until daddy comes home in the evening. I will soon stop being all of this for him as he quickly grows up but he will remain in my world for as long as I live.
Whilst I might be his entertainment it is also up to me to make our days fun, educational, useful and productive for us both! and even a simple chore such as dishwashing can be fun, full of development exercises activity for kids if we do it together. We learn colours and words like this, I show him how to do and not to do things, we make the mess than tidy up. We play and learn together.
We are our children’s world
At such a young age, this is what our kids want. We are their world, we are their role models, therefore, they follow our lead and mimic our behaviour. We help them learn about the world around and we inspire them to have the courage to explore it on their own.
In return, our children have a lot to teach us too! We just need to find a moment to stop and watch and listen.
Toys, will always be toys, and kids will have their turn with them, but sometimes, when your little one gets in the way, perhaps they are just trying to say or show you something a lot more important to them than toys.
I’m glad that although at first, I didn’t read my boy right, I did manage to recognize something so special and previous to my heart, something I treasure and look forward to each time now, dishwashing…
Just like that we painted the living room, worked on kitchen cabinets and done some woodwork. Don’t ask me how, but somehow when I figured a way of getting what I need done and keep my baby happy and occupied I suddenly felt a rush of unexpected energy that the ever exhausted me couldn’t resist and enjoyed getting our home the very much overdue makeover.
Together we do it all. For as long as he needs me there I shall be and I will always find the time and the way to make any task possible to achieve as long as my baby is happy.
And he is the happiest little boy Now that he can help his mama!