My husband and I were puttering around the house while our
2.5-year-old played quietly in another room. Suddenly, his squeaky little voice
pierced through the air:
“Mom-mee! Dad-dee! Teddy Grahams!”
We practically crashed into each other racing to get his
snack. That’s when we realized we were taking the term “child care” a little too
The first year of parenting means tending to the baby’s
needs as quickly as possible. Learning to anticipate those needs before the
baby cries practically becomes a badge of honor.
Come toddlerhood, those needs turn into wants, and very
quickly, evolve into demands. Somehow we forgot to give our son the memo that he’s now
capable of getting off his little butt and asking us, politely, to get what he
Are we on the path toward spoiled entitlement? Let’s just
say we’re all a work in progress.
2. I Don’t Enjoy Playing With Him
I like watching him play. But actually sitting
on the floor stacking Legos and racing cars? Not so much.
By forcing myself to play I end up resenting our time
together, watching the clock or sneaking looks at my phone. So I finally gave
myself permission to do things on my terms.
I figured out that
we can have a good time when I’m cooking and he’s playing with his train set on
the kitchen floor. He loves when I run with his stroller, so I get in a
decent workout while we’re outside together. And running errands is so much
more fun when there’s a little person along for the ride.
Maybe I’ll regret
not participating more in his imaginary garbage truck races. But hopefully all
the other memories make up for it.
I have a hard time believing that one size fits all in child development.
3. Screen Time, Anytime
You know all those things you said you’d never do before
becoming a parent? The "TV as a babysitter" is one of mine.
It started off innocently enough. When he was a newborn,
breast-feeding and TV went hand-in-hand. As a baby, he was too absorbed with
examining his own feet to pay attention to the TV in the background.
Over time, it became an easy crutch. I’m a working mom, and TV
means guaranteed free time for me to get my stuff done. We praise the iPad as the foundation for him
learning letters, animals and songs. Screen time is our cue to get him to sit
down and eat or simply to settle down after a long spazz-out session.
On most days it seems innocuous. He might watch a few
minutes and then toddle over to his toys, with Pingu still squawking in the
background. Other days it’s insidious, when he demands entertainment seconds
after waking up, followed by tantrums and tears if we say no.
I know there are studies out there about the effects of
screen time on little kids, but I have a hard time believing that one size fits
all in child development. So on this one, I’m hedging my bets.
Since starting preschool at age 2, my son has mastered the
alphabet, embraces the concept of clean-up time, and says “thank you” at
I'm pretty confident none of these things would have
happened so quickly if we were in charge. Sure, I believe parents should be
involved in their kids’ education, but right now I’m just grateful to have the
Now, if they could handle potty training for us, we’ll be all