I haven’t had a toddler in years. Literally.
I suspected I was enjoying some side benefits of this, and could name a few if someone asked me. Knowing that I have more sleep and free time is different than re-living the cyclone of trouble that is a just-walking explorer, however.
Perhaps I ought to back up and explain that I tended a good friend’s 2-year-old yesterday. He came around 9:15 a.m. and left (with his mother) around 5:15 p.m. (I felt the parenthetical note about his mother was necessary because the boy is a Runner, meaning that he leaves by himself whenever he can. More on that later…)
After about an hour of exploring every.single.toy in our unfinished basement’s play area, he decided the next course of action was to dump out and/or throw what he could. Silly me had decided to work on a side project during his more-distracted hour and was therefore obliged to give that up and entertain him as I ought to have been doing. Because he’s a toddler.
Aaand apparently he LOVES tools. Since the basement is unfinished, we are working on finishing it. That means that a power saw, wood, toolbox, and various wood pieces are laying about the room that is most complete. Having other children, this also means that two half-finished catapults, screws, bent nails, hammers, a cordless drill, and more wood was laying about the same area.
Every few seconds after he threw something, Toddler would scuttle over to The Danger Room, stop, point, and say, “Toos!” Or, “Saw!” Or, “Hamma!” He would also occasionally say, “Dada! Saw! Brrrzzz!”
I love this boy. He is beautiful and has a beautiful smile when he catches your eye. He used that smile a lot when I’d come around the hall and find him in the no-no doorway. -“No-no” being the phrase I’d say every time this happened.
I did dig up a battery-operated ‘saw’ toy we’d purchased at Deseret Industries (a store like Goodwill) a few years back. Paired with a real piece of wood, it provided a full-minute’s worth of distraction.
If not for the Blessed Gift of Daniel’s Tiger’s Neighborhood, though, I’d not have gotten anything actually finished. Given that, I still only washed the dishes.
After my boys got home from school, I was granted more distractions. I didn’t get any other housework done in caring for all of their needs as well, but did have their aid in keeping Toddler out of anything flammable and poisonous.
We even spent the last half-hour of his stay ‘cleaning’ the garage. For those curious, that translation is: Boy #2 played a game of bumper cars with Toddler while I moved a few bicycles and threw some of the piled-up cardboard into my minivan to take to the recycling bin. It was a fairly successful strategy; Toddler only tried to climb on two of the bikes and escape out of the garage twice.
Ah, yes. I was going to mention the escaping.
At Toddler’s parents’ house there are a lot of child locks. On all the outside doors, they have installed the sort that are a plastic bolt and chain style. All of these locks are up fairly high as well, because they need to be higher than Toddler can reach while on a chair. Yes, he drags chairs over and stands on them. And he is fast.
I knew this and was not worried. A side benefit of our boys slamming the doors when the deadbolts were out is that they are really difficult to unlock. I cannot open our front door sometimes.
At least twice yesterday, however, one of mine managed to get it open and left it thus. Like a homing beacon, my sweet little toddler friend realized this and was out. Both times, I found him perched on our front porch park bench, smiling that beatific smile of his.
Thank heavens it was snowing and he didn’t dare venture out into it without shoes.
When his mother, my friend, came to get him, I felt a bit sad. I showed her the cool toy saw he loved and he demonstrated how he ‘cut’ his real board with it. When she picked him up, he pointed out the “Dada! Saw!” and other “Toos!!” nearby.
“Are you ready to go home?” she asked him.
“No!” he told her. “Toos!”
I’m happy to help a friend and love her son. But I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m enjoying using the bathroom without worrying about a two-year-old using the table saw.
I’d also be lying if I didn’t say that her text to me today didn’t affect me.
He talked all about going over to your house last night in his prayer. 😀 He said “poop, tools, saw” -and then proceeded to make the saw sound.
It was so precious. I knew exactly what he was talking about. 😀