Wednesday was a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. The poop in the bathtub? Was just the icing on the cake. I won't go into the details but Sydney and I were just out of sync all day. She was fussing at me and I was trying to do my own thing. We watched entirely too much television, had entirely too many time-outs, and both of us were frustrated the entire day.
So yesterday I made a choice. I decided that I was going to slow down and just be with my daughter all day. On Thursday mornings John gets Syd up and has daddy-daughter playtime while I get some work done. I finally got around to making this yummy black-eyed pea soup in the slow cooker (it turned out AWESOME), chopped up and froze a Costco 4-pack of celery that I've been trying to get to for almost a week, cleaned the kitchen, made a pot of coffee, caught up on some writing, even ate my own breakfast. It was a wonderful morning.
At about ten-thirty I took over from John, who had to shower and get to work, and we read a few books, had a dance party, played with some toys, had a great time. An hour later she needed a diaper change (she now leads the way to her bedroom to change! her! diaper! It's fun!), and while we were in there she asked for her blanket and pacifier, which means she is asking to take her nap. We rocked for a minute and then she pointed to her crib. I laid her down, covered her up, and she went right to sleep.
And then? She took a three hour nap (Daddy knows how to properly wear a toddler out, lemme tell you). And so? Since all my work was already done? I got to shower, eat some lunch, tool around on Facebook, and get some rest myself. It was bliss.
When she finally got up she had some lunch, and then we played. I got down on the floor and we played for hours. We built block towers, played with her puzzles, had more dance parties, raced her matchbox cars (she is into cars), and had a great time. There wasn't one single time out.
And I think there must be something to that. I read somewhere recently (I think Parents magazine) that 30 minutes of "floor time" with your toddler can eliminate/diminish most behavior problems. My daughter must have had some sense that this week something upsetting has been going on. On Wednesday I was "too tired" to really get down on the floor and play with her at all, I was more interested in drowning my sorrows in my MacBook. As a result? The day sucked. There were too many time outs to count. My daughter was trying to communicate to me in her own way (her vocab is still very limited at 20 months) that she needed and wanted some attention from me. Because she doesn't have a MacBook, and Elmo can only go so far. I, in my frustration, just thought she was striking out at me just for the heck of it. DUH. Toddlers aren't THAT manipulative.
I know that there are going to be hard days ahead. I know that I won't be able to be on the floor with my daughter every afternoon for hours … sometimes she'll have to keep herself occupied! She's going to have a little brother soon! But the formula is simple. Turn off the television. Put down the laptop. Play with my daughter. Because then? Everyone's happy.
And she is, as you can probably guess, a really fun playmate.