This was a weekend of picking my battles. I'm starting to become a practiced expert at asking "Is she hurting anyone? Is she endangering herself? Us? The cats? Are we going to be late because of what she's doing? Bah, I'll clean it up later." I'm also becoming a master of asking questions that I don't really want to know the answers to, such as:
"Did you just shove that entire pretzel up your nose?"
"Aww, did you just wipe your own nose? WITH THE KLEENEX YOU ARE NOW EATING?!?!"
"Why is my hair/my face/the couch/the cat/the floor sticky?"
"Why did it suddenly get so quiet in there?"
"What in God's name did she throw down the laundry chute THIS time?!"
"How can you possibly want MORE applesauce? You just ate 3 bowls!"
Most of these questions are met with a devilish grin and baby feet pounding the floor in whatever direction will get her away from me the fastest. Some of them are met with sass-back of teenage proportions. And some are met with a wide-eyed, "what you talkin' 'bout, mama?" face that makes me laugh, even when I don't want to laugh. (By the way, I actually DID ask all of these questions this weekend. I sometimes wish my life was videotaped so I could offer playback on this blog to prove to you that I am living as weird/amusing of a life as portrayed in my posts.)
A coworker (a childless coworker) asked me earlier this week "why do parents let their kids get so messy when they eat?" to which I responded, "what's the harm? Stopping them is harder than it looks and at worse she needs a bath and a change of clothes when she's done." Sometimes it's just easier to deal with the consequences of letting her explore her independence. Plus she does usually learn something in the process of creating the mess(like "mommy thinks it's funny when I blow raspberries after taking a big bite of applesauce").
Anna went outside with her dad yesterday to play in the yard while he raked leaves. I decided since it was nearing 3:00pm that I should probably change out of my PJs and brush my teeth (we had a lazy weekend) and go out to enjoy the weather a bit myself. I went out and poor little Anna was trying with all her might to climb into her wagon (Cadillac of wagons - thanks, Grandma Hootie!). I, without thinking, picked her up, strapped her into the wagon and headed the 7 blocks to the park near our house. Without telling Andy where we were going, or even checking to see that he had seen me grab her. She and I continued to the park and had a grand old time, climbing the steps, going down slides, reading some really lame grafiti (really, "MySpace.com" qualifies as graffiti? Lame, teenage delinquents, lame) and swinging.
Finally she decided she was finished and we went to get loaded up in the wagon. But no. "I'm walking, mom, and I'll scream as if you are abusing me if you try to put me in that seat." Right. So we began our 7-block trek back from the park with Anna pushing the wagon while I pulled. Letting a toddler walk 7 blocks is a PAINFULLY SLOW process and definitely exercised my patience more than little, but she was bound and determined to keep going. Finally when we got about 4 blocks of the way home, and she was wandering yet again toward some stick or mud puddle that looked interesting to her, I told her it was time to ride. She protested a bit, but eventually gave in and enjoyed riding in style the rest of the way home.
As we approached the house, Andy was in the front yard raking leaves into the street. I apologized up and down about taking her and not telling him where we were going, but was met only with a blank stare and a "no problem" from him. He said he saw me put her in the wagon and figured we were heading someplace to get out the way of leaf raking. I was strangely disappointed that he hadn't called in the national guard, but felt better when I took Anna out of the wagon and we pitched her into the leaf pile.