Monday, January 13, 2014
Simon Says, "Throw Rocks"
If you've ever parented a toddler, or babysat a toddler, or spent more than 10 minutes alone with a toddler, chances are you had to tell that toddler "No" at least once. (Maybe more if it happened to be my little toddler....) Two-year-old kids are curious. Fearless. Busy. And generally lacking in common sense.
I know the parenting books tell you to redirect. "Present the child with an alternate activity that will distract them away from the undesirable behavior." Sure. Thing.
The books have never met my two year old. He is 90% sweet, cuddly boy. 10% raging maniac. I won't bore you with the details but it's safe to say that on most days I feel like the title "Referee" might be more appropriate than "Mommy."
And so this weekend when he was throwing rocks in the backyard, I had a brilliant idea. Rather than spending the rest of the afternoon saying, "NO. We don't throw rocks!!" (and then chasing him as he ran away with a fist full of rocks, and then bandaging up his sister who would likely be the target of the rocks), I redirected. I packed the kids up in the car and went down to the riverbed that is littered with THOUSANDS of golf-ball sized rocks, perfect for throwing.
I knew the trip would either be a moment of mommy genius or earn me a spot on Geraldo....could go either way. (OK, so Geraldo doesn't even have a show anymore, but it's been so long since I've watched daytime TV, I don't even know the name of the latest, sensationalized gossip king!!) On the one hand, the kids could revel in the freedom of a safe, controlled environment in which they could "legally" throw rocks. On the other hand, they could completely ignore my 15 pages of instructions that I dictated to them as we drove to the river about not touching the water, not going in the water, and only throwing rocks AT the water, not at each other.....And I could end up with an eyeless daughter and my 10 minutes of fame on Geraldo's episode about "Moms Who Let Their Toddlers Throw Rocks."
Survey says...genius! The kids loved it! Nobody got their feet wet, I didn't have to fish anyone out of the river, no fishermen, dogs or children were hurt by flying rocks, and all of the rocks were (mostly) accurately aimed right at the river.
It felt a little Huck Finn-ish....Mom taking her kids out on a Sunday afternoon with no agenda other than to throw rocks in the river. Who does that in 2014?
Well, we did. And we weren't more than 10 steps away from the river before my daughter was asking when we could do it again.
Guess I'll have to pick another story for my Geraldo application.