Monday, March 26, 2012

Evidence of a Toddler's Day

I remember my husband asking if it was time for our two year old to take more responsibility cleaning up her toys. Of course I knew it was time. She was actually pretty good at following directions. And she understood the whole idea of picking up after oneself. So, with a newborn to care for, why wasn’t I embracing the idea and taking advantage of my daughter’s compliant nature? I’ll tell you why.

It had to do with nighttime. Once the children were asleep, the world slowed down. I felt the tension go out of my shoulders. I found myself smiling as I remembered something cute my daughter said.  I chatted with my husband, giving him the highlights of my day. We quietly moved through the house cleaning up before we settled down for some grown-up time.

In the living room, we came across a family of stuffed bears where my daughter had been playing. She sang her first original song to the family of bears that day, entitled One by Heart. There was a basket, filled with a collection of play food she had chosen at the pretend grocery store. And in a corner of the room, we came across a beautiful, symmetrical design made of beaded necklaces and gaudy clip-on earrings. My daughter had neatly arranged the pieces on an over sized book. It looked like a framed piece of art. I didn’t even catch the little sculptor at work on that. As I put the things away I felt as if I were erasing the evidence of my daughter’s day. One that had passed so quickly.
 I cherished that nighttime ritual. Somehow, when telling my husband about our day, I forgot how messy, loud, and exhausting some parts had been. Instead, I focused on the happy evidence strewn about the living room as I once more vowed “Tomorrow, she starts cleaning up her own toys.” Well…maybe.

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