Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Everyday Life: Lessons from cleaning the playroom

Lately, I've been so caught up in, well, life, that it seems I've forgotten the reality of our, you know, life.
Between running errands, running a business, running an organization and running a household, I got so caught up in all of the running I've been doing that I've neglected the little guys in my life. Not neglect like I let them run around in dirty diapers with empty tummys all day but neglect in the sense of the word that I forgot how little they actually are and all that comes with being that little. And I've neglected maintaining my patience with these little ones, especially my sweet two year old.
After both boys went to fell into slumber this evening, though, I was jolted into a major revelation while cleaning the playroom that has been majorly neglected because of my busyness.
As I scanned the array of toys scattered across the carpet, I noticed half-built Lego towers with little toy trains crashed into them. Among the towers, the two year old also had a few G.I. Joe men nearby ... one was driving a Lego tractor while hauling in a trailer a giraffe that was supposed to be floating at sea in Noah's Ark. I giggled at the cacophony of my preschooler's play toys. What an extreme juxtaposition.
After I sorted the Legos, trains, animals and G.I. Joe men, I moved onto organizing the play kitchen -- everything from little heads of lettuce, plastic ware and plates to french fries, spatulas and fried chicken were scattered all over his kitchen area. As I organized, I sorted the plates into the cabinet, the food into baskets and the milk bottle and egg carton into the fridge. And when I opened the play fridge door, I found his cup of milk from earlier in the day sitting on the top shelf.

I nearly exploded with laughter. I had asked him earlier this morning to put his milk back in the fridge all while explaining that things like cheese and milk need to stay cold so they don't go bad. My two year old had obliged and ran off with his milk cup. As I prepared dinner, I looked in the real fridge and asked him where he put it.
"On shelf, mommy," he'd said.
"Are you sure?"
"I put on shelf!" he insisted.
"No, honey," I had told him, "I think you must have put it somewhere else."
He again insisted he had put in in the fridge on the shelf. But at that point, I was in a hurry to get dinner done so I could get out the door and instead of arguing about or searching for that cup, I gave him a new cup.
After I giggled about the situation for quite a few minutes an epiphany overtook my mind. I realized that his playroom "mess" is so representative of where he is in life right now. He's two! Because of his awesome vocabulary and speaking ability, I think I always think he's older than two. But my, oh, my, he's really just two.
And he's still figuring things out. He doesn't realize that G.I. Joe men weren't designed to sit in Lego trucks or that the animals from Noah's ark are supposed to stay with the boat and float swimmingly together with Noah at sea. He doesn't get that the play refrigerator won't keep his milk cold because, after all, it's a fridge, isn't it?
He's still learning about all of the things we adults have already figured out -- things that seem just so stinkin' obvious are anything but apparent when you've only been alive for two years a few months.
So enough with the busyness already because it's robbed us of not only peace and fun in our home but also understanding, learning and connecting. Tomorrow, when he wakes up, I'm making it a point to slow down, take off my adult lenses and put on my preschooler ones.

Tomorrow, we're going to play and discover and learn and grow together. Tomorrow, I'm going to have more patience.Tomorrow, I'm going to see that real smile I love so much.

And tomorrow, I just might explain the difference between the real fridge and the play one.


  1. That is so cute, and reminds me a lot of my oldest when he was just 2, after we'd had our second. It's a lot to juggle with kids and other responsibilities! It's also easy to view things as annoyances instead of realizing it's how their little brains work. I think I'll have a better perspective of my 2- and 4-year-olds the rest of this week! Thanks :)

  2. That's too funny! I cleaned our playroom last month, and I found a dried up banana peel in the closet. It had been there far, FAR longer than earlier that day. :)

  3. That's so cute. I'm glad you shared!

  4. I was thinking at the start of the pst - how is it even possible to fit all that??!! I find that I do the same but in my head. Too many ideas, thoughts, projects, that I end up with no time for self-nurturing, and less focus with my girl (despite being with her all day).

    It just doesn't work. The maths doesn't add up - there are only so many hours and so many brain cells to spread out.

    "So enough with the busyness already because it's robbed us of not only peace and fun in our home but also understanding, learning and connecting."
    Great to hear. It's not easy finding the balance. I guess starting with connecting t our kids has to be a good path to it.

  5. A good reason to be patient. He is just two. What about when he's just four? :)

    And thanks for affirming that a play kitchen is a good birthday present for Anna's second birthday. I knew it.

  6. So cute! :) I have found many funny things in our real fridge (cups of pretend tea for example...)
    They mean well!

  7. Awwww! It is a challenge with the huge vocabulary and not so much experience, but hey if he's having fun playing with GJ Joe wherever, GI Joe doesn't care where he is. I love the use of imagination! :)

  8. You never know what you may find in those playroom purgings! Imagination is wonderful at this age.


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