Busy, busy toddler is a handful of fun

By Dr. Patsy Pridgen
Life Columnist

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I haven’t checked recently to see what pre-school teachers and day care workers earn annually, but unless it’s in the six figures, it’s not enough. If you disagree with me, then try spending a few days keeping up with just one almost 2-year-old child.

Of course, I love, love, love this particular toddler, my youngest grandchild, but I’m here to tell you that being his sole babysitter for several hours a day while his mom was at work sure took the starch out of this Grandma.

Not that he’s a bad child. Oh, no, he was just being the normal almost 2-year-old toddler boy. Which meant that he wasn’t still for longer than a minute or so.

He was bouncing along on the balls of his feet. He was jumping in the middle of any bed he could climb onto. He was racing through the house pushing his mother’s old Barbie cars and colliding with the furniture. He was running down the driveway heading to the street when I made the mistake of letting him out of the fenced-in backyard.

If I turned my back for a minute, he was going up the stairs by himself or poised with a pencil he found somewhere, ready to scribble on the wall. I found I pretty much had to lock him in a room with me to put in a load of laundry or make up a bed.

He was constantly exploring, which is what he’s supposed to be doing. Sometimes his explorations, though, were exasperating.

For example, he discovered the sprayer while he was taking a bath and then wanted to hose down the entire bathroom. Evidently, he thought that if colored markers made pretty lines on paper, he should decorate the chair he was sitting in as well. He enjoyed the sound that paper makes when ripped out of a book.

No matter what he destroyed, though, he was so darn cute, Grandma forgave all.

In fact, I found myself catering to his every whim. Each television set in the house was turned to PBS so he wouldn’t miss “Curious George” as he moved from room to room. When I took him to Harris Teeter, he had only to point to a sample case, and I fetched him a bite of deli ham, cheese, an orange, an apple, and of course, the complimentary Harris Teeter cookie.

After a morning of entertaining my little man with countless activities, I found myself looking forward to nap time. For both him and me! Sometimes, I’d been warned, he has to be driven around a bit to go to sleep. I didn’t have to resort to that, but I was prepared to strap him in his car seat and haul him to Raleigh and back if necessary.

He’s gone home to Charlotte now, and the house seems very quiet. Once again, I’m able to watch the CBS morning news and do my chores in peace. I kind of miss “Curious George,” though, along with Play-Doh, hide and seek in the backyard, story books, and building blocks. I’ll use my downtime to rest up for the next visit.

Patsy Pridgen is a retired community college English instructor. She can be reached at patsy.pridgen@gmail.com.

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