Wiggles was pretty much the easiest baby ever. But the last few months haven’t been so fun. They haven’t been bad, but my sweet little guy has morphed into a whiny brat. He’s not always a brat- mostly just with me, and mostly just when we’re at home- and especially when we’re on the main level of the house. When he’s being a brat, he’s crazy! He screams when I set him down, cries when I hold him. He points to something and whines, but if I give it to him he’s not happy. He does this little mad gallop dance and sometimes even throws himself down and punches the floor. When he gets in these moods he’s nuts and not enjoyable to be around.
I try hard to respond the way they (whoever they are) tell me to. I don’t usually show a reaction. I try not to give him what he wants. I attempt to distract him. I (usually) remain calm and try to ignore him. But still, these fits continue.
Last week I emailed our beloved daycare lady. I wanted to see if he was as whiny for her as he had been for me.
She reassured me that he was not super whiny at her house, but did say that he was “a very bright child” and requires “a lot of intellectual stimulation”. Her response was perfect because I went from being concerned I was raising a whiny annoying kid to being sure I was raising a baby genius (insert proud momma beam)!
Since then I’ve been trying to really involve Wiggles with what I’ve been doing. Last night he helped me stamp and put return address labels on some envelopes (if you receive a letter from us and things are a little crooked, he apologizes). We count EVERYTHING from peas to crayons to books. He’s an expert at flushing the toilet.
I think the baby-sitter was right. When I reflected on how our days usually go, I realized that too often I expected Wiggles to play by himself while I start dinner/get around/clean the sinks. I’m now realizing that if I involve him in these activities, things take a little longer but everyone is happier.
It’s only been a couple of days, but check out how this morning went:
The set up: Just Wiggles and me. Daddy’s camping.
The plan: Lazy morning at home. Thought I’d watch shows the husband doesn’t approve of, like Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders, while playing with Wiggles.
What actually happened:
- Ate breakfast, Wiggles was whiny, I was frustrated.
- Tried to
intellectually stimulatedistract Wiggles by letting him drag out everything from under the sink while I washed dishes.
- After he handed me a Magic Eraser and a long-forgotten candle, realized I didn’t really know what was under the sink.
- Thought cleaning under the sink would be a good way to engage Wiggles.
- Dragged out EVERYTHING.
- Realized that I didn’t really like the way we store cutting boards and cookie sheets under the sink.
- Tried to find a new place for them, no obvious ones.
- Realized I didn’t really like the way our baking cabinet was organized either.
- Dragged out EVERYTHING from the baking cabinet.
- Organized baking cabinet. Wiggles made 2 dozen trips to the trash can
- Realized I needed a basket to organize some of these items.
- Went down to storage room to find said basket.
- Grabbed an extra one for Wiggles to fill up.
- Tried to find new places for some items formerly in the baking cabinet.
- Stood on top of a chair to get to a high shelf.
- Realized the top of our cabinets haven’t been cleaned since 1997.
- Cleaned cabinet tops.
- Worried I just taught Wiggles how to climb on top of the counters.
- Laughed as shorty Wiggles tried to climb on our bar-stool height chairs.
- Rearranged a few more things, finally found room for cookie sheets and cutting boards.
- Put everything back under the sink.
- Cleaned counters.
Wiggles had a blast this whole time. He liked moving things around, banging on the cookie sheets, taking off the top to an empty soap bottle and figuring out how to put it back on, etc. He was so happy and fun to be around all morning long! And I had a super productive morning on a day I had planned on getting nothing done!
So thank you, super smart daycare lady, for helping me realize that my son isn’t really a whiny brat.
And isn’t he a cute kitchen helper?