Susanna Wesley was able to make time to spend with each one of her ten children individually- there is my role model, there is my goal. I didn’t quite do that yesterday, but I think I did the next best thing.
Adon, our 21 month old, like many toddlers, is misunderstood. I have attempted many things to try to bridge the gap of understanding, such as sign language and giving him a buddy. But I know deep down that what he really needs is more time with me. This is difficult since I have this appendage called Kenan, three months. He is a good baby, but his care demands me to put his needs in front of Adon’s over and over again. So Adon acts out. I don’t think he knows what is missing, he just doesn’t like the way things are.
Anyway, yesterday started out hectic. Most days are, but this had some stomach flu stirred in to the normal chaos, Caleb on the couch with a bucket. I actually like making up the couch into a sick bed. It must be a tiny part of me that would have enjoyed being a nurse. What am I talking about? I am a nurse, every day! With Caleb ill, at a certain point it was just easier to put on a video than to corral the little ones inside away from him, or outside away from me. But as we got settled down to watch, Adon started crying for his binky. I looked all over the house for it, and had a sneaking suspicion it was outside, since Adon had been out on the porch earlier when Luke left for work. This would mean curtains for the binky, since our dog Bella LOVES to chew up binkies. This would be the fourth or fifth one she’s ruined since we’ve had her. I had the thought, though, why don’t I take Adon outside with me and we can look for it together. I put on his shoes and out we went. Maybe he knew where it was, because he found the binky right away; it was under the porch step. I was relieved it was still intact, because this is the last binky I’m going to let him have- we aren’t buying any more. This isn’t even one of his, it is the weird green one that came home with Kenan from the hospital.
As we walked around the yard, Adon would hold his binky in his hand. Soon he picked up a stick with the other hand. When time came to pick up the soccer ball, he had some juggling to do. I showed him how he could put the binky in the pocket of his jeans, but he didn’t like that idea. Later, he wanted to pick up a bigger stick and found he couldn’t because his hands were too full. Then, he dropped everything in order to throw Bella one of her tennis balls. Bella pounced on the binky and pinched it between her teeth. I grabbed it from her and put it in my pocket.
We moseyed on out to the garden corner, and I started moving the bigger stones that were in it to the perimeter. Adon loved that, and sat right down to play with the rocks. Then I went to work on the corn stalks that were still sticking out of the ground, pulling them up and piling them on one end of the garden. It is good that they have such shallow roots and it isn’t too difficult to pull them, but Adon came over and gave it a try. He couldn’t do it, but it was cute watching him exert himself and grunt. He contented himself with taking the ones I just pulled and walking them over to the pile.
All this to say, I already knew the way to my toddler’s heart was to spend some quality time with him. Caleb, when he was this age, was terrifying me with his frequent head banging and escaping out the back door and into the road (!) I simply had to shut my life down for a few weeks and give him my complete attention. It was a really sweet time I will always remember, plus it birthed my first children’s book, Where’s Caleb. Not bad for a scary situation to turn out to be such a blessing.
Adon isn’t scaring me nearly as much, but I am looking forward to spending more time with him in the coming days. This month can be his. Next month will probably be Micah’s- it soon will be time to potty train!