In order to get Aiden – and myself! – adjusted, I brought in some reinforcement: new race cars, new puzzles, and a few farm animals. I even got him a new pack of jumbo crayons and a coloring book. My thinking was that he could entertain himself for a while and I could get some of my schoolwork done.
But every time I placed these fantabulous toys in front of him, he wanted ME to join in on his playtime. Every. Single. Time. So I’d play with him sorta half-heartedly. While his toys were in front of us, my laptop (love my MacBook!) was to the side of us, and I was typing up outlines for papers, reading articles, responding to emails, etc, etc, etc. I thought of fun, creative ways to show him how to play with the toys all by his lonesome. But all he wanted to do was play with yours truly.
This left both of us frustrated. Very frustrated. He was frustrated because he wanted my undivided attention and I was frustrated because I didn’t want to be stuck all night doing schoolwork, which is exactly what would’ve happened if I continued to play with him. I felt guilty, but really all I wanted was some time to do my work.
After a few weeks of living with the frustration (grrr…), I finally got it. And I finally took the time out to see things from his perspective. He spent his glorious Summer days with me and then, without any real warning, it was back to preschool in the Fall and back to being away from me for all those hours. The new schedule was super hard for him to adjust to.
All this little guy wanted was me. Not toys and crayons and other replacement items.
It was that simple. And it was totally developmentally appropriate for a toddler to want to play with his mother. Duh, Alicia! It wasn’t his fault that I had school assignments. And he was way too young to possibly understand things from my perspective. Like, there was no way that he could possibly “get” that I had work to do day after day after… (you get the point). I was the one who made the decision to go to grad school even though I had a little one to take care of. So I had to SUCK IT UP, PUT MY BIG-GIRL PANTS ON, AND DEAL WITH IT! Word!
I re-evaluated what was really important to me. And spending time with Aiden during these glorious toddler years is important. After all, these are the years that he really needs me to help shape and mold his personality, and do all the other things that moms are supposed to do.
So while there would be a ton of late nights and a few all-nighters ahead of me in order to earn good grades, I made the wise decision to put the laptop DOWN and pick the puzzle UP. And that made all the difference.