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I’ve been paying closer attention to a habit of mine lately. I always seem to be in a hurry. I rush to get out the door to work, I rush to get Truman signed in to daycare, I rush to get out of the grocery store, I rush to get home, I’m rushing to make dinner, and get ready for bed and, really? What the hell am I rushing for? Our morning routine is down to a science. Even if something goes astray (poop, snot, emotional breakdown, missing articles of clothing) I can usually improvise and reel it back in in time. Until recently, I was in a sweaty panicky state every morning leaving the house, even though I had plenty of time to get to work. I decided to stop it. I take a few minutes to sing and dance with Truman now, which prevents emotional breakdowns. I tickle him and pretend to snack on his tummy and ribs when I’m helping him get dressed, which makes him laugh and engages him instead of causing him to flail around and attempt escape.
I used to carry him into daycare because I thought it was so much faster. Even though he loves to walk in by himself, he stops to look at everything…twice. He sits down on the sidewalk sometimes, he touches the walls, he wants to help open the doors. He peeks into the gym to see what the big kids are doing. He thoroughly enjoys his walk in, but it drove me crazy. Me carrying him drove him crazy, causing a fit and an unhappy start to his day at “school” but I didn’t really care. I’d get in the car and head to work feeling flustered and guilty, wondering if he was still crying and mad at me. Then when I really stopped to think about it, the entire process takes maybe three minutes longer when he walks in. He enters the classroom with a huge smile, and I leave feeling more peaceful and less guilty. Win!
I applied the same principle to grocery shopping. I allow him to walk in the store from the car and from the cart caddy back to the car after we are done. In the store he happily sits in the front of the cart and is in charge of putting all of our purchases in the back of the cart (with the exception of eggs!) after he is done examining it and holding it. He holds everything up, we talk about what it is, he puts it in the back and gives me a high five. He asks for random hug breaks. I pull the cart over and we hug until he lets go. It takes a little longer to shop this way, but the experience is so much more enjoyable. He’s not begging to touch anything and everything and throwing his head back with frustration. I’m not wild eyed and annoyed trying to check out with an angry toddler. What is the hurry anyway? I’m going home, and I’m not expecting any visitors. Why do I NEED to get out of the store in record time?
I’m no longer worrying about dinner being ready on time. If he is starving and can’t wait any longer, I can give him a banana or heat up left overs. He really doesn’t care if he eats the same thing we are eating each night. If he likes it, he eats it. Most of the time he ends up eating a little of both, the leftovers and the new meal. It has been a lesson in letting go of a little control. Stopping to “smell the roses” has made me feel so much more relaxed. I know that there will be times when we will have to rush, but I’m just not going to do it every day. I’m hopping off of the hamster wheel. You know, the big wheel that makes you run faster and faster, only to end up at the exact same place every time? Insanity! There are no additional prizes for getting into bed thirty minutes earlier, exhausted and drained. My day may take thirty minutes longer from now on, but I’ll go to bed with a smile on my face. And so will Truman.