Monday, April 12, 2010

Speed, thy name is NOT toddler

Efficient (adjective) -- Performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort.

Whenever someone in a job interview asks me to describe myself in one word, I always have the same response: "efficient". I am very type-A. I want to immerse myself in a project, work like mad until I drive myself crazy or my eyes begin to cross, and finish as soon as I can. I don't like to waste time or stop and start too many times. I am just not a chat-in-the-hallway type of worker. Focus, focus, and hurry up and focus. That's pretty much me.

Well... here comes toddler independence. All day long, my ears and patience are tested with one short phrase, over and over again.

"MY turn! My turn!"

Amelia wants to do everything herself. She climbs into her highchair unassisted. She wants to buckle herself in the chair. And in the car seat. She wants to climb into the car and into the car seat all by herself. It is "her turn" to wipe up a spill. "Her turn" to put her shoes on. "Her turn" to open the door. The girl knows what needs to be done and wants to do it. All by herself.

The problem is, this clashes big time with my "efficient" personality. Do you know how much longer it takes for Amelia to put on her own shoes? Or to climb into the car and safety seat? And how long it takes for her to struggle with the buckles on every single thing we own that has straps???

Getting out of the house went from two minutes when I was child-free, to 10 minutes with an infant Amelia, to at least 20 minutes now that Miss Independent has come along. I find myself really struggling to control my frustration with these things. The world will not end if we are five minutes later (but still on time) for a doctor's visit. If Amelia gets to preschool at 9:31 instead of 9:25, I highly doubt she will get expelled.

I won't be docked any Good Mommy points if I'm running a tad behind schedule. Certainly, I would get docked exponentially higher points if I squelched Amelia's need to learn and do things independently. I know it is a normal "side effect" of her growth. But it's still a challenge for me to adjust.

Patience. I need it more and more and more every single day. Too bad I'm really quite bad with patience in general.

I will not fight the 2-year-old will.
I will count to ten.
I will breathe.

A most importantly, I will not, under any circumstances, forget to clap and cheer for that bright-eyed incredible little creature whom I love so much.

They grow too quickly.


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