Small children don’t understand the concept of time really. There’s either now or not now. When I wake E up in the morning, he tells me he was napping. Waiting for a play date an hour away might as well be days (so I often don’t tell him until it’s almost time). And they certainly don’t understand what it means to be late somewhere.
All that to say, grown-ups like to rush small children, and small children don’t understand why.
I try really hard every day to not rush E. Especially as he gets older, I let him do things on his own, even though I could do them much quicker. For instance, we let E help put baby G to bed every night. We’ll put G in his crib and then wait as E turns on the sound machine and turns off the light. Light switches are hard, and sometimes they take a few minutes. But still, instead of doing it ourselves, we let him do it. Because he can, and because we don’t really need to rush.
Recently, E has gotten really good at taking his shoes off. He used to take them off all the time in the car or occasionally at daycare, but lately when we get home we can say “go take off your shoes” and he’ll take them off and put them away. It’s mind blowing. (Related: Where did my baby go!?)
So when we were getting ready to go to Target one day, and he had his shoes in his hand, I asked if he wanted me to put them on, or if he wanted to do it. Of course he said he was going to do it, he just didn’t know how. So I had him sit on the rug, and we tried to have him put them on his foot. That turned out to be a little difficult, so we switched tactics. With the shoe on the ground, and me holding his hand to keep him steady, he stood up with one foot in the air, and slid it into his shoe. SUCCESS! And since they’re velcro, he was able to fasten them himself too.
He was able to repeat it and put the other shoe on too. It took forever, but he was so excited that he put his shoes on himself! And I figure it’s something he’ll have to learn eventually, so why not teach him now. I actually should thank my sister, since I noticed her teaching him all kinds of things recently that I wouldn’t have thought he was old enough to learn. So she’s made me stop and try to teach him things in our day to day life. The key for me has been to really try and enjoy these small moments, because they’re just as important and can be just as fun, and then I’m not trying to rush through to get to some “end point.”
Speaking of time, somehow the littlest baby isn’t so little anymore. Our doctor told us we pretty much have a nine month old - both in size and ability. I’ve been mourning my ability to tell people I have “two under two” as an excuse for everything, but I suppose things are easier than they were. Being able to sit the baby down so he can play helps a lot. Actually the two of them have even been playing together lately. They’re definitely noticing each other, and are kind of amused by the other, is the best way to describe it.
Having two of them is definitely hard. It means I have even less time than I had before, when I thought I had none. But watching their relationship develop is amazing and fun and so cool. I need to remind myself to just sit and watch it more.