Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Got it all figured out

I was trying to get some chores done this afternoon, when Sam decided to follow me around screaming. I'm not a fan of the new tantrum phase, which is (naturally) combined with her "if Mom is busy I must have her attention RIGHT NOW!" phase. Not a fan at all. People keep telling me she's too young to discipline, but if she's not too young to run over to mess with stuff she's not supposed to and then smile, run away and pretend she wasn't when she sees us looking at her, how can she be too young? Anyway, I decided to give her a job to do to help me, since trying to send her to play wasn't going over at all. Less than zero on the blocks, drums, little people, you name it.

I was folding laundry so I walked her over to the dryer with the empty laundry basket. I showed her how to move the clothes from the dryer to the basket and said "Put the clothes in the basket!" Sam is just getting old enough to love putting things in buckets and baskets, which means she helps clean up her toys--can I get a hallelujah??!!! Sam just looked at me, pulled one sock out of the dryer and into the basket, then smiled at me and ran to her room.

It wasn't what I was going for, but I thought I had figured out a universal rule of parenting--if you want a kid to leave you alone while you are working, give them a chore. So, I went back to my laundry pile feeling like I had gotten at least something about Sam all figured out. Apparently, she, much like her mother, is entirely lazy and will do something she doesn't feel like in the face of an even worse fate like a chore. This same personality trait is the only reason I've ever watched a Lifetime movie--much less the same one three times over in the same weekend. Anything's better than cleaning the bathtub.

After only a couple of seconds of feeling pretty on top of things and giving myself a knowing mommy smile, Sam was back at my feet waving and pulling me out of the room anyway, so I went with her to get the rest of the clothes out of the dryer myself. Imagine my surprise to find that Sam had not gone into her room to play after all. There was a plastic teething bee in my whites. She had run into the other room to get something far more interesting than T-shirts for the basket. Then she had come back to get me and show me that she understood her job--put crap in the basket. Obviously, she misunderstood the part about what specifically I wanted her to put in the basket.

And it turns out that I haven't gotten it all figured out after all. The only thing I know for sure now, is that there isn't anything I know for sure. I may have a lot of "first days" in parenting, but this certainly is not my first day feeling self-righteous for all of 30 seconds before being straightened back out. That's pretty much an everyday thing around here.


Crow Family said...

Sam is too cute. We need to get together on an afternoon I have off, pool- lunch- whatever

Alison said...

You know what works really well when I want my kids to leave me alone? I wave the fingernail clippers in their direction. They hate getting their nails clipped and totally run for the hills.