Trying to Learn with Baby Steps

I have some issues with how good of a mother I am with Spencer. That I don’t try hard enough. Or do the right things. I’m too old or too fat or too tired all the damn time to tend to the needs of a high spirited and willful toddler. Not that I think he is particularly or spectacularly high spirited or willful. He’s three and three year olds are awesomely horrible and horribly awesome.

We live not too far from the mall where our farmer’s market is held. I used to walk it with the stroller and then tool around the mall with a very contained and mostly content Spencer. Lately he has been resisting the stroller or he just rides in it there and then wants to walk around. This is fine and all, but I hate pushing the empty stroller around and it restricts us from the escalators. So mostly we just drive.

Today I asked Spencer if he wanted to go to market and the mall and he said yes. He wanted to walk. I begrudgingly said ok. I began to pack a backpack and he wanted to take his backpack and carry it himself. I said ok and packed light. We headed out on the longest walking adventure the two of us have ever had without another adult for help.

Much to my surprise, it turned out ok. Spencer’s carrying of the backpack only lasted about three blocks, but luckily the straps are adjustable. We went to the play area, Sephora (where he miraculously didn’t touch anything), the Disney store (where he obviously touched everything), the play area again and then to market and home.

We sampled cheese and bread, purchased corn (he paid!) and strawberries (he might have sampled a few extra) and headed back home. The market purchased didn’t fit in his tiny backpack, but I carried a bag and carried on. We walked home and made it almost the whole way without incident. He sat on the sidewalk and wanted to scoot home (denied) and walked backwards with his eyes closed (allowed with hand holding).

What is the point of this rambling and sort of pointless story? Glad you asked. The point is that I said yes. I didn’t want to go, didn’t think we could go, but I still said yes. And it turned out fine. He didn’t run away and I didn’t yell. He didn’t dart out in to the street and I walked without holding hands for most of the time. I’m proud of the two of us and our walking adventure today, especially following our trip to the fair just the two of us. Now if I can just get over my driving on the freeway phobia, we could take Southern California by storm!

What parenting fears have you conquered lately?

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12 Responses to “Trying to Learn with Baby Steps”

  1. That’s awesome, Amy! Noah is super energetic, too, and I honestly kind of dread the day he refuses to ride in the stroller at the farmers market or in the buggy at Target. But I also know that the more I try to say, “NO!” and contain him, the more he struggles. I think this is an awesome step for you, and I definitely think you are a good mom.

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    Amy Reply:

    I still mostly keep Spencer in the cart at target and the grocery store. He wants to push the cart and I spend more time trying to keep him from ramming people and things than actual shopping and I feel like it is a wasted trip.

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  2. Brigid Keely says:

    Hey go you! That’s really awesome. Our plans for today and yesterday have both been curtailed by rain, so instead of going outside Niko is forced –FORCED!– to make huge epic sprawling train track layouts and throw blocks around. WHATEVER. I don’t like to go on walks with him because he always gets tired on the way back and needs to be carried and that kills my back. I don’t know if he’s being lazy or actually tired… he’s super energetic but seems to burn out fast. He has asthma (although lately it seems to be controlled) and I don’t know if that’s part of it or what. Our stroller folds up, though, so it’s easier to manhandle about but it’s still ten pounds or so and thus adds to our load.

    As for what parenting fears I’ve been conquering, I’ve been letting him help me in the kitchen a LOT more, including making coffee (measuring and counting out scoops of grounds in the basket), bread, and cookies. The coffee and bread turned out ok, the cookies not so much. It’s easier for me to adjust flour levels in bread than in cookies. I’ve also been, uh, teaching him knife skills. Mostly safety stuff at this point, but I do want to move on to actually using a knife. I THINK I was using a knife to cut things by the time I was four. :/

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    Amy Reply:

    I’ve been debating knife skills with Spencer, but I am still a bit too nervous about how jerky he is. We do a lot of measuring and counting. He really wants to stir hot things, but that freaks me out too…

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  3. misssrobin says:

    Congratulations! That sounds like a definite success. And a fun day.

    Just think, in only a few short years you’ll be teaching him to drive and sending him off to college. (I say this because it will come faster than you think, I promise.) Little steps. And they all matter.

    You’re doing great, mom!

    Stopping by from SITS.

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  4. Kim says:

    Yippee for a successful outing! Such a great feeling! My latest obstacle is DAY CARE. The first 2 days, O freaked out. Then on the third day, they switched personalities & JD was in tears. Today was the first day with no tears at all, although when I parked, JD said, “you can go drop O off, and I’ll wait in the car.” I reminded him that he wouldn’t be able to do his crazy legs dance with his teacher if he waited in the car, so he went in. haha Toddlers/preschoolers are so weird.

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    Amy Reply:

    Spencer didn’t freak out until the second week last year with preschool. The teacher said it was totally normal to be delayed with 2/3 year olds, but the actually get over it faster. And then it happened again after winter break.

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  5. Audrey says:

    Oh man. I totally get that foreboding of how it’s going to turn out. I usually make Ev sit in the Joovy when we are at the zoo, for the long walks with no exhibits anyway. To save his energy so he won’t tire out too quickly and so we can get to the exhibits faster. Today I let him walk. The world did not end. We didn’t stay nearly as long, only 2 hours instead of 3 or 4, but that’s okay. And since we’ve been like 8 times this summer I let him decide where we were goings which actually led to a small area we hadn’t seen before. Good times.

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    Amy Reply:

    I get more worried about me getting annoyed than Spencer getting tired. I get short tempered and yelly when he won’t listen or walk normal. My husband is much better than I am with that and that’s why we normally have joint outings. Also, I’m pessimistic and assume everything will go horribly. Next up – taking him to the beach alone.

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  6. Tannis says:

    I have to remind myself to do this all the time. I have such a tendency to hole up, and O has so much energy…going out alone always seems like such an ordeal. I don’t like ordeals. But usually when I try, it turns out better than I think it will.

    I applaud!

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  7. Arnebya says:

    I seem to be more frazzled when I take all three out at once, even though the girls are older (11 and 9 to the boy’s 2 1/2). I don’t know if it’s because he is more playful with them, but he is much more laid back and willing to sit in the cart and hold things than he is if they’re along. Also, I tend to question my parenting when the girls are with me. Are they watching? Do they think I do a good job, yell too much, am too forceful, need to have a backbone? Yes, these are actual thoughts I bombard my brain with. Doesn’t matter if they make sense; they’re there. I wonder if the girls roll their eyes when I ask them to keep the boy from running around. I’ve asked but they say no, they’re happy to help. But do they feel like they HAVE to help? Like I can’t handle it alone? I can so handle it, little girl humans! Stop judging me. Also, your brother is throwing the tiny green footballs (avocado), so I’ma need you to get him.

    I say accept all self praise for outings gone well and accept it from others too. It’s not as easy as it looks, no matter how many kids you have, to make it from point A to point B, especially with a willful toddler. Congratulations.

    What parenting fear have I conquered lately? Stairs. Absolutely stairs. I no longer run to the stairs, top or bottom, to help him up or down. I no longer require he sit on his bottom and scoot, nor do I make him hold my or SOMEBODY’S HAND FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS NOT HONEY BOO BOO. I still cringe, yes, but I am not scaring him to damn near stumbling as I run to help him.

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  8. melissa says:

    i LOVE this post! i feel all the same things, all the time. when you stay home with your kids, it is easy to kind of get stuck in a rut. starting potty training has definitely got things more interesting around here. it sucks because we are definitely staying home more but we DO need to get out sometimes. so i have to face my fear of a tiny toddler bladder exploding everywhere and get us out. as weird as it sounds, having a kid has helped my anxiety. i used to get so crazy anxious going to costco (ours is always so packed) i refused to go by myself. now, i’ve gone several times, just me and jc and it is fine. it’s great! i just try to really think about what’s the worst thing that could happen, logically and prepare for that situation. as long as i am prepared (as well as i can be physically but more importantly, emotionally and mentally) for what can happen, it puts my mind at ease.

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