What would we do in this world without our toddlers? They help us slow down, perhaps actually force us to so that we can breathe in life as they do daily. They present us with curious impromptu challenges, like how do you remove the #2 bathroom feature off your Samsonite luggage after a 6 hour flight across a continent?
This particular tale is tedious and maybe boring at best for most of you. However, I wanted to share its simplicity as my abandonment to the occurence lightened my usual parental moodiness.
One of my family members has a very tall, two-tiered staircase that I like to get us up or down as quickly as possible on most days. The only reason we really go upstairs in this house is to take a nap and get reprieve from our hot and humid days here in South Florida.
The other day we had arisen from our nap and were making our way down the stairs. Mr. Independence has decided lately that he can make it down the stars himself as long as he holds onto the railing and has Mama within arm’s length just in case. So we’re beginning our descent on the top couple stair steps and I’m allowing him his safe personal space when suddenly he stops in his tracks.
“What’s wrong?” I ask him in Greek…he just looks at me and then promptly sits down on the second step. His right hand still holding on to the wrought iron railing, his left arm extends downwards along his side and his left hand pats the stair step beckoning me to sit beside him.
My gut parental reaction is to be the responsible, stressed-out adult and ask him to stop the nonsense and drag or carry him down the stairs. However, thank God, for a moment I soften and decide to take my son’s invitation and I sit down right next to him, my right arm hovering behind him and my right leg extended in front of him (I can’t completely shut down the worry wart in me, gotta make sure he’s not taking a tumble).
Once I’ve settled beside him, he begins to point at particular items in the room below, naming some himself while asking me to declare others. After he’s made his initial scan, I follow his lead as he goes down a few more stairs only to stop a couple more times along the way. The routine is similar but each object he points out is different, never repeating. In other words, methodical.
It seemed that once he was satisfied and had made it down the stairs, he relinquished the floor back to Mama and my agenda ruled again as I began to lead him to what our next activity was.
Sometimes it’s not a bad idea to go along with a toddler’s whims. In this case it was relatively harmless, it just required me to be patient and to enjoy the moment. The unfortunate reality is that as parents we are many times just trying to survive the passing moments each day as we pummel forward with raising our offspring and meeting all other demands of our individual lives.
Thankfully, the toddlers of the world help not only their parents but others around them to try to savor the obscure and ordinary moments of life. I must remind myself of that daily lest I plod right through the precious opportunities to enjoy the unexpected.