My son Jacob is two and a half. He’s incredibly cute, which I firmly believe is a survival mechanism. Because as much as I love him and would walk barefoot on glass for him, all of that exuberance and experimentation gets to be a little … wearing. He pretty much has to be the cutest thing going for me to happily show up (and wipe up) day after day after day.
The other day was very much a toddler sort of day, when Jacob’s cuteness suddenly became very important. It started in the morning, when he climbed into my bed at 6:30am, grabbed my head in both hands and told me to, “WAKE UP!” It continued at breakfast time, when he threw all the cans I’d stacked up on the counter on to the floor one at a time, completely ignoring my repeated requests that he stop. It also carried right on through to the time I spent in the garden, when he dumped out several seed packets and jumped on to my back every time I bent over, knocking the wind out of me.
The highlight of the day came in the afternoon, though, when my daughter Hannah was at school. While I did a bit of work on the computer, Jacob wandered off. Right at the point when I started to think he was being just a little too quiet, I heard some noise at the front window. I took off at a sprint, saw that Jacob had opened the window, and heard his voice coming from outside. When I made it out to the front lawn I found my son there, wearing his gum boots and announcing proudly, “I did it! Mama, mama, I did it!”
The window Jacob escaped through – luckily it’s low to the ground
Fortunately, the window in question is low enough to the ground that Jacob wasn’t hurt at all. And I sort of appreciated that he’d planned his escape out enough that he was wearing boots. Clearly, the kid can think ahead. But the fact that my toddler could have run into the street or just generally set out on his own for adventure? That part was not so hot. I like to keep small people with limited judgment under my direct supervision as much as possible.
I did my best to communicate to Jacob that we do not jump out the front window. Or any window. He was a little bit bewildered by my reaction – clearly he was expecting high fives and parental enthusiasm over his accomplishment. But my stern talking-to about all the dangers that could have befallen him did not slow him down.
Geez, Mom, I was just trying to have a little fun when I jumped out the window
When it was time to pick up Hannah from school he refused to get in the stroller, and then when we were halfway to school, he refused to walk. Of course, I had left the stroller at home so I ended up half-carrying, half-dragging my kid up the hill of doom so that we wouldn’t be late for pick-up. On the way home he wouldn’t hold my hand when it was time to cross the street, and he tried to pick flowers from other people’s gardens.
As I was making dinner, I caught Jacob throwing things down a heating duct. He told me he’d thrown a mango down, too, so I found myself fishing around for fruit. I didn’t find any, but I did find three crayons. If my kitchen starts to smell in a couple of weeks, though, we’ll know that my arm just wasn’t long enough to reach the mango. As we were eating dinner, Jacob threw his food on the floor and dunked his meat in his water cup, then refused to eat the meat because it was wet. And while Hannah was having her bath he threw the bathroom stool and three full-sized bath towels into the water.
Some days with two and a half year olds are just like that. Looking back over the events from one 24 hour period, I can see why I’m so tired all the time. But, like I said, he’s pretty cute. He’s even learning how to tell knock-knock jokes – who could resist that?
Have your kids ever tried to escape out a window? And how did you handle that in-between time when they don’t want to ride in the stroller, but they’re still too small to walk very far? I could use helpful hints, recommendations for child-proof window locks or even just commiseration.