Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our 2-Year Old Now

If I have learned anything lately its that a busy preschooler means an ever-messier house. And it's not just the toys and books strewn everywhere. James also likes to remove things from shelves and drawers. He draws on walls. He spills juice, tears paper, flings clothes and balls in the house.

James is more in control of his movements. Now he can play with small objects easily and stack (not just knock over) towers of blocks. He can also concentrate for slightly longer periods of time, as much as 20 minutes if he's deeply engaged. Sometimes he'll become so absorbed in playing that he'll resent my interruption. Transitions are easier by warning him in advance, as in, "You can play with the blocks for five more minutes, but then it's dinnertime." Sometimes I may give him a few warnings before I insist that he finish up his play.

Another thing I have learned is that messes have many different triggers behind them. Part of the upheaval is James' lives-in-the-moment mode; easily distracted, he abandons one thing right where it is and moves onto the next. Curiosity plays a role, too. James just has to know what's in this cupboard or what happens when he pulls every last tissue from the box. It takes time and practice — encouraged by lots of parental patience — to learn that there's a right place for dirty socks and a wrong place for crayons. Let's just say that my expectations for tidiness are low while James climbs this learning curve.

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