Thursday, August 12, 2010

toddler on a mission

As soon as Elijah started walking, it was as if the grocery cart became his worst enemy.  Especially if I went to a series of stores with him.  The poor thing did not want to get in another "seat," he wanted to be up and about.

As Elijah has learned more and more words, I've found something that has been extremely helpful for me as we're shopping.  Instead of (me) freaking out, I just (very calmly) speak to Elijah as if I'm setting him on a mission.  Here's how these moments in the grocery store may go:

Me: (after frantically looking around for something easily recognizable to a toddler) "Elijah, can you please tell me when you see a ball."

Elijah: Seriously focused on finding a ball, points emphatically when he finds it, as if in disbelief.

Me: "Ok. Now can you tell me when you see something orange?"

Elijah: May point out something prematurely, but then points again when an orange object does appear.

Me: "What about a banana?"

Elijah: Again, excitedly points to the bananas.

And the game continues.

I have found that this is helpful in the car and restaurants as well.  Perhaps something about my tone of voice does make Elijah feel that the excursion has quickly become about him again.  And, since all toddlers are all about themselves all the time, then it seems to work!

Even when Justin and I are talking at dinner and Elijah starts to get a little fussy, it's hilarious to watch Elijah's demeanor change when I turn to him and say, "Elijah, did you tell Daddy how we played in the pool today?"  Just taking a few moments to make him a part of our conversation again seems to satisfy him.  I mean, I would get pretty bored if everyone was leaving me out of the conversation!

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