Sometimes I feel as if I have a new puppy or I guess an untrained dog living with us. My youngest, Leah, is 18 months and she gets into EVERYTHING! I'm sure I've written about her abundance of curiosity before but over the last week or so, it seems to be in over drive.
Last week, as I was with my oldest, Grace, at her dance class, Leah who was suppose to be watched by her father, got into not just one of our indoor plants, but both of them. I was told the story afterwards about how my husband found Leah playing in the dirt - he scolded her, cleaned up the mess, explained plants are not sandboxes and gave her something else to play with. He left the room only to come back to find Leah taking the dirt from the other plant onto the floor and couch. Either she thought that this houseplant was ok to play with or she might as well even things out. But, she was scolded, the mess was cleaned up and again it was explained to her that she is not to touch the plants.
Fast forward to yesterday where I was checking something on my computer, in the same room with Leah. I turned around to find our ottoman, which we use to try and keep her away from the plants was now a lovely shade of dirt brown. I thought she was playing with one of the gazillion noise making toys since I heard it going but in fact she was covering the toy in dirt. Leah was put in time out, the mess was cleaned up and she was reminded that she is not to play in the plants. The whole thing reminded me of the time I found my dog when I was a kid, trying to hid her bone in an indoor tree that we had. I walked around the around the corner to find the carpet covered with dirt and a bone sticking out of a hole that my dog had dug.
This morning as Grace was watching 'Alvin and the Chipmunks' before school can you guess what my youngest was doing instead? That's right! Playing in the plants! At this point I know it's not her fault, it's mine for being stupid enough to think that a toddler would 1, actually listen to what her parents have to say. 2, that she would stop doing something she obviously enjoys doing. And 3, think anything would change. I know what some of you might be saying - why do you leave her alone? Because if I was with her all the time, nothing would get done in our life. Or why don't you move the plants - well they are too big to really move.
Sometimes I am slow when it comes to remembering how kids behave - Leah is very different than Grace was at her age. Grace, while not a perfect child, wasn't as curious about things as Leah is. I know I am not suppose to compare, I am suppose to embrace their differences. I am suppose to enjoy constantly walking behind my toddler telling her to stop banging on the windows, that no we are not going outside yet so put your shoes back,, please close the cupboard. I am suppose to love that my youngest loves splashing in the toliets, even though I remember to put the lid down and close the bathroom door. I am suppose to giggle when that same child screams bloody murder as I try to wash her hands after her toliet playtime. I am suppose to laugh when she throws her breakfast, lunch and dinner on the floor after I keep telling her to not throw food. I am suppose to smile in delight as she pokes my eyes out in the early morning while screaming "EYES!". I am suppose to think it's cute when my daughter throws a tantrum on the hallway floor because I asked her to put a block away.
In all honestly, the hard part of parenting a second born isn't really figuring out the differences but actually parenting - finding the patience to give each child the attention they want. Leah is being a 18 month old and has sadly quickly discovered if she misbehaves she will get attention, not always smiling laughing attention but attention. These last few days, I have been able to spend one on one time with my youngest outdoors something she really loves and have noticed a difference. She is more willing to listen, to please me, of course this change could also be because she has been able to get her digging in dirt need out of her system.