Doing something right?

The Boy threw me for a bit of a loop this morning.

You see, our AM routine is pretty standard. He wakes up, we snuggle for a little while, he may or may not take a shower with his dad, he gets a new diaper and new clothes, and then he eats. After he eats, if there’s still enough time, he’s allowed to watch one (and only one) 20-minute program (of his choice) so that I can get dressed to go to work.

Today, however, this little routine was shaken a bit.

We did fine until it was time to eat. He eagerly ate a banana (though Cute Husband wasn’t allowed to give it to him – “No, Da-ee! Mama gets!”), then proceeded to play with his cereal. He started putting Cheerios into his milk (I’ve been having him eat dry cereal to be washed down with a glass of milk), which only meant I needed to show him how to eat cereal with milk. He got the hang of it pretty quickly, then after five bites, decided he was done with cereal and wanted yogurt. One food at a time is my rule, though, so I had him finish his cereal before I took out the yogurt.

I opened the yogurt, he took one bite, then took off running. “No Blues Clues unless you finish your breakfast, Little Man,” I said to him. Usually, this results in a scowl and a slow walk back to the kitchen to finish his food. Not today. No, today he looked at me, shrugged, and took his plastic carrier containing the Gabba Friends and their train cars.

“Help, Mama, please?” he half-demanded from the family room.

“No,” I said firmly. “I won’t help you until you finish your yogurt.”

He responded with a frown, came back to the kitchen for one bite of yogurt, then returned to his toys and partially unzipped the pouch himself.

So, he didn’t need me after all.

Once again, I threatened him with no TV – and then it dawned on me that he was engaging in free play on his own. Yes, he was playing with licensed characters, but he was creating his own world. I was suddenly reminded of an article I wrote earlier this week about the waning trend of overscheduling your kids, and another article I read about the need for kids to have occasional unplugged days at home.

And here I was, put off because it threw me off my regular schedule.

After that realization, I went to my bedroom and changed my clothes. He joined me as I was brushing my hair.

“Mama? Brush?” he asked as he opened the drawer, reaching his little hand into it for a hair brush. I slid it closer to his fingers, he grabbed it, quickly ran it twice through his hair, then returned it. “Shoes, Mama,” he reminded me. I put on my shoes, and he ran out of the bedroom.

I paused in the kitchen to grab my bag (forgetting my cell phone in the process), but he was waiting for me in the hall.

“Mama! Come on!” he said.

And as he ushered me out the door into the garage, I was suddenly grateful for those few moments he opted to creatively play on his own.

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