[On Learning To Just Slow Down and Relax]

I have this thing where I hate being at home doing nothing. I blame my mother – she of the super impressive social life at 65 – for the fact that remaining indoors all day gives me intense cabin fever and feels like such a waste of time. My husband, on the other hand, can veg on the couch for hours days on end without feeling even a hint of restlessness. But having a talking toddler has taken my own need to get out and about all the time into overdrive. 

Because Ryder started full-on talking only after his 2nd birthday and only after we weaned him off his dummy, I guess there was a part of me that wanted to make up for lost time and expand his vocabulary as much as possible. For the last few months especially, I’ve had a constant need to be on the move with him, so that there is never a wasted moment of learning and absorbing and taking in all that the world around him has to offer. Again, I blame my mother, a teacher who tends to let her profession spill over into her parenting and grandparenting. Quite frankly, it’s been heaps of fun, but exhausting at the same time. My husband is constantly reminding me that we have many more years with this kid (God willing) and that there is no need to try cram it all in now. But I can’t help myself.

Ryder’s teacher has sent me some lovely  messages about his learning and the fact that he is keeping pace with some of the 4 year olds in terms of his educational development. That makes me smile. But I know that it’s also not enough to only be a smart kid – good manners and a pleasant attitude are essential. And that’s something we try to work at daily. And probably the most challenging part of parenting, I confess.

The point of this whole rambling post is that over the last few weeks I’ve thankfully realised that we don’t always need to be out and about for him to be figuring out the world around him. I’m enjoying seeing simple imaginative play and learning at work in the comfort of our home. I get home from work and within an hour I’ve been directed to take on the role of lion, elephant, fireman, pick up truck driver, ringmaster, or whatever else the toddler’s little imagination dictates. Simple things like household tasks are interesting and fun when you’re 2 years old. Putting away the laundry turns into a fun matching and colour game. Gardening is something I’ve discovered he enjoys and something I’d like to do more of. Cleaning up the yard and “helping” with renovations makes him feel like a big boy. Even a quick visit to the supermarket becomes like a big, exciting excursion.

I’m not a Pinterest mum, but mannn, if I could whip up adorable arts and crafts, and Martha Stewart-esque yummies in the kitchen the way I see you guys do, I’d so be all up in that too with my boy.

Today’s been a lazy Sunday, and while I woke up with the idea that I want to take him on a ferry ride in Durban harbour today, he instead decided he’d like to make imaginary apple pie out of a pile of leaves, and build a few vehicles out of play dough. The always-busy mum in me recognises that’s OK, and I’m rolling with it, reluctantly at first, but more willingly, eventually.

Happy parenting, all. xx

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