Thursday, February 10, 2011

Look What I Can Do!

Brooklyn sat at the table drawing a picture. Actually, it wasn't so much a picture as it was just filling in squares on graph paper. After she colored in each square, she held up her paper and asked, "See what it looks like now? Do you like it now, Mama?"

For the first twenty or so squares, I played along, looking up from what I was doing, to offer lavish praise on this work of art. At some point, however, I stopped glancing over at the paper, and started offering a half-hearted, completely disinterested, "Mmm hmm".

By the time she got to about the fortieth square, I felt myself actually getting mad. I've looked at your paper a thousand times! You don't have to show me your progress every stinkin' minute!" "Yes, Brooklyn. I still think you're doing an awesome job. It looks great!" I said, exasperated.

This was not an isolated incidence tonight, oh no. On any given day, she can be seen doing something that needs immediate attention. Like hopping on one leg. "Mom. Mom! MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM!"

I turn away from the pot I'm stirring on the stove and offer a weary, "Yes, Brooklyn?"

"Look what I can do!" she instructs me as she proudly shows off her mad hopping skills.

This will continue the whole time I'm cooking. "Look. Look! Mom, look at me! Look at me! Look at me!"

I turn to see the same child hopping the same way. "That's great, honey. You're so talented."

"Noooo, I was hopping on my other foot that time! See?"

"Oh yes, I see," I say, turning back to my dinner preparations.

"Now look. Mom. Mom! Now look what I can do! See what I can do? Mom!"

"Yes, Brooklyn. Oh yes, that's wonderful! I wish I had a tenth of your energy."

"That time I was hopping while flapping my arms. Now look at me! I can hop and stick my fingers in my ears. Now look! I'm hopping and turning around! Now look at me! Look! I can hop with my eyes closed! Mom! Look, LOOK, LOOK!!!"

This is an especially fun activity while I'm the phone. The minute I get on the phone, the child is instantly drawn to me. It doesn't matter that they've been playing quietly for the last half hour. They sense the minute I pick up the phone to dial and they pull out all the stops, just begging for attention.

I know there are some of you without kids, or some of you who have little kids who aren't to this stage yet, and you're probably thinking that I'm impatient and/or mean. And I'll admit, before I had kids, I would have probably agreed with you. If anyone had told me that it could be exhausting just watching a child play, I would've thought they were nuts. How tiring could it possibly be to simply watch a child play, right? Well, if you have kids, you know. If you don't, try this - set your alarm to go off every sixty seconds then sit down to write an article, or cook dinner, or pay bills, or have a phone conversation. Every time the alarm goes off, you must look away from the task at hand, and say, "Oh yes, dear. That's great! Good job, sweetie!" Have fun!

45 comments:

Ted and/or Laura said...

GAH...my daughter (6) does that. I have yet to find a solution, I'm pretty sure when I find the perfect solution it will be "she finally grew out of it."

Diana said...

Oh how I understand! My four year old thinks that I MUST know when every tv show or movie is finished, that I must know if he has to go do 'number 1' and then he comes running back to tell me that he has to go 'number 2' as well.
The great thing is that I will get to go through all this again when my 1 year old is older!

Debbie said...

Oh, SO true!! And I only have 2 kids. It's exhausting. By the end of the day sometimes, after listening to my 7-year old daughter, I will say the my ears are bleeding!

msprimadonna67 said...

Oh man...one of my kids is the poster child for this type of behavior! I feel your pain, believe me.

Tammy said...

I have somewhat solved this problem while I cook dinner. I simply tell them, "You are in the wrong room." Of course, I have to say it several times. My husband reminded me that I could look away as much as possible if I'd buy one of those automatic stirrers. Yeah. I told him it could be solved permanently by hiring a chef! LOL

V1nce said...

Look at my comment! Look at my comment! LOOK! LOOK! LOOK! LOOKATMYCOMMENT!!!! LOOK! LOOK NOW!NOW!NOW!

Shay Williams said...

This is awesome! She sounds EXTREMELY talented. My toddler isn't quite begging me to watch her hop on one foot, but my hell, just watching her play and making sure she stays alive and/or doesn't kill her sister is going to KILL ME! "no eden, don't climb on the table." "no Eden, don't sit on Rubi." "no Eden, the light bulb socket is not for sticking your toys into."

It never. Stops.

onlychildsinglemom said...

Oh God if this isn't exactly my life every single day before and after school! My son is the same age as Brooklyn so I'm right there with you. I completely fell out laughing about 'the other foot' thing. That's so my Noah too.

No one even bothers to call me anymore because he's so ridiculous when I try to talk on a phone. I only make business calls when he's in school now. You just can't prepare someone for this stage until they get there. I would've laughed in their face anyway...boy am I paying for that now. lol

belindasbaubles said...

I can relate, and it's SO hard to keep your mind on one task when you're inventing new ways to express your utter joy at being shown the kids impersonation of Benjamin Franklin, (but this time with 'energy'! Mum! Mum! Mum!)
Really feel your pain. But hey, you keep answering. That takes guts and lots of love.
*Big Hugs*
Belinda in Brisbane Australia

Sara said...

I get so tired of my 3 yr old telling be what's going on on the TV, I've started telling her NOT to tell me because if I wanted to know, I'd watch it myself. It makes me feel mean, but it's exhausting to try to figure out every little thing she's saying! Especially when she has to tell me something every 5 seconds!

Denise Scotti said...

We are at the same stage. I feel your pain. And seriously, what is it about the phone that makes them follow you around like lost, loud puppies!? I'm like a lunatic, making a "mad" face and pointing to the other room. And yes, I do feel mean for doing that, but seriously! Give. Me. A. Freaking. Break!!!!!
Denise
bestparent.wordpress.com

Chris said...

My son used to ALWAYS try to talk to me while I was busy on the phone when he was younger (now he's a teenager I can't get a word out of him... but I digress...). Never bothered his dad, just me. One day I'd had it, sat him down and asked why he did it to me and not his dad. "What is the difference between us?" I said (meaning, of course, what was the difference to him, that he thought it was okay to interrupt me but not DH).

He thought about it for a few minutes, then said, "Well... Dad's a bit taller..."

MaBunny said...

I know what you mean Dawn! I only have the one child and she is out of that stage. BUT, now when I have a classroom of 20 kindergarteners and they all want to show me every step of what they are doing, I admit to sheer exhaustion when I get home.

momnextdoor said...

Are you sure this was happening at your house last night because I think you might be referring to my house. I have (only) two kids but that phase is alive and well right now! I do not think your impatient - nor mean - in fact I think you handled it quite nicely. I have to force myself to look without rolling my eyes.

Kimberly said...

I get you all the way on this one! My 4 kids constantly need something, and the middle kids are esp. "bad" with this... "look mom look at my new trick", as my son pinches his nose shut. Wow, good for you! You can plug your nose! Glad I just wasted 3 seconds of my life! HAHHAHAA!

Lisa said...

I hear ya. My daughter, the same age, as Brooklyn does the same thing. It makes it extra hard because she is an only child so she does not even have siblings to annoy. I noticed you live in Elk Grove. My daughter will be going to Elk Grove High School too. Maybe they will some day hop down the halls together and annoy some teacher. Keep up all you do!

iffer@AOL.com said...

my 4 year old daughter is the same way! And my 7 year old son can't fathom why I don't find watching him play video games insanely entertaining. I've mastered the "mmhmmm, yeah, that's great!" move. Ahhhh kids are fun.

Chris said...

So what did she actually end up making on her graph paper? Anything interesting?? Chris in PA

Jen said...

HAHAAH my life in a nutshell. And it's not just my 5 year old...I think my 8 year old is worse! =)

shirley said...

aaahhh...the joys of parenthood. you'll have peace when they all grow up and leave the nest....IF they leave the nest. LOL

pepsiplease said...

Every word you wrote was soooo true. Mine could be at a friends house,but the minute I decided to make a phone call they were hanging on my leg. I find now that kids are grown husband has taken their place.

Melissa said...

Ha - you have a lot more patience than I do. I would have stopped that really quick by telling her to surprise me when she was done with the whole thing.

Tricia Freeman said...

I like that and feel your pain. Is the bathroom done yet, post pics if it is!!

Jen_Jake'smom said...

so, so true. Yesterday my son (who is 8) insisted I watch his new movie with him - Beverly Hills Chihuahua 2. It wasn't enough that I was in the same room, on the same couch with him - he didn't even want me to have a book in my hands, lest I miss something great in the movie.

I mean, there's no nice way to say dearest, I really hate watching cheesy Disney movies, even if they do have cute dogs in them. Don't I get points for BUYING you the over-priced lame movie?

Robin said...

As much as that IS irritating after awhile...I kinda miss it. At this point, my 10 yr old & 12 yr old don't need me to look at anything. :( Unless it's an incredibly difficult & confusing math paper...and it does me no good to look at THAT! I don't understand it anyway.

Brooke said...

I think you need to set that timer for every 5-10 seconds to re-create the "MOM LOOK AT ME!" craziness in my house... At least around dinner time :)

My Semblance of Sanity said...

set the alarm for SIXTY seconds??? i think you mean SIX!!!! RIGHT??

feistywon said...

My 5 year old daughter does this too and yes, it does drive you nuts. It is definitely one of those things that in theory doesn't sound very annoying but in reality, it drives you right up a wall!

Christine said...

Ha ha, so cute and so frustrating at the same time.

Now that my kids are older I wish they were so transparent with what they are doing...instead of "Mom look at me!" they seem like they are more likely to try and hide what they are doing. It's like pulling teeth sometime to know what they are doing all day...you know exactly what Brooklyn is doing aaaallll day.

Que said...

My 2YO is at that stage. I understand it very well! It takes everything in my being to keep from going all Honeymooners on her and BANG, ZOOMing her to the moon. I love her to death but that doesn't stop the BANG, ZOOM urge. Not one bit.

Bobbie said...

Oh how I feel your pain! Telling us that she says, "Look what I can do!" instantly put an image of the Mad TV character 'Stewart' in my head.... if you don't know what I am taking about, youtube it. It will make you crack a smile whenever you hear those 5 words come from your child's mouth. At least it does for me when my 4 year old says them. :)

Shannon said...

Funny and cute!

Tina said...

sixty seconds? I think about twenty would be more realistic!

hugs to you...

Midlife Mama said...

Haha I remember those days. And somehow, when you said her words were "Look what I can do!" is it wrong that I got an image of Stewart from Mad TV in my head?!?

Buttons in a cup mama said...

Today my 2 years old son just did the same king of stuff. While my husband come back to work I just can't talk to him, for no reason I have to give him my full attention and he says "no talking, no talking". If we kiss, "no kissing, ni kissing". It's not that he doesn't want that, it's because he wants our full attention. It drives me crazy !!!! So I completly understand you !

Peace said...

I have two daughters, and my oldest started this young and has yet to stop. She is 13. We all dread the day she starts her period.

Megryansmom said...

Is it FIVE? I swear it must be five, because I get 'Look Mema' 47 million times a day. Some days I'm relieved when he goes home at night. Strike that, every day! LOL

Callista said...

Oh my gosh you are so right. My 3 year old is the same way. You are nicer than I am though. It gets to a point when I'm like "honey, you don't need to show me everything you do, just go play and have fun and let me be for a bit." only maybe not quite so nicely. It gets SO tiring!

Kris Roach said...

I know a good way to stop the phone interruptions. You have to train the kids, but if you are on the phone or talking with another adult, and the child NEEDS your attn. they walk up to you and place a hand on your shoulder or elbow and you place your hand over the child's hand to acknowledge them, then when you can have a pause or break in the coversation, you can ask them what they need. Once you deal with whatever they needed, they can go on their merry way. It may take some time for the kids to learn the system, but it is a blessing to have children who will show respect while you are having adult conversations. Of course, some children are more cooperative than others... :-) Just a suggestion...since you said Brooklyn seems to demand your attn. constantly while you are on the phone. As for the cooking or other times...I have nothing!

Forty Pound Sack said...

Rats - I remember doing that to my mom. I gotta go call her and apologize. =)

Stacey said...

Mine is only 3 months old so I have a little way to go...he does seem to know when I get on the phone...or cook dinner...because he gets really upset!


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Shellie said...

Amen!

Julie said...

Are you sure you weren't at my house yesterday? My 4-year old was coloring and every 20 seconds or so she would say "Mommy! Do you like how I'm coloring now?" She's also terrible about interrupting when I'm on the phone or just trying to have an adult conversation with my husband. Any time we're trying to talk she gets really loud on purpose so we can't hear each other - very frustrating.

Angie said...

I only have one kid (one on the way as well), and I feel your pain. Before I had mine, I would see mothers "ignore" their children and think how they were terrible parents to ignore the creative stimulation of their child like that.
Then I had a kid, who demands my constant attention at the end of my workday when all I want to do is watch one half-hour program on TV after rushing home to cook dinner, clean the kitchen, let the dog out, do laundry, and work on my second job. So sometimes, she gets my 100% attention. Sometimes she gets about 25%. And I no longer judge other parents -- that's for dang sure.

Sherry said...

Kids are drawn to a mom with a phone as moths are drawn to a light. I don't know what it is. You could hide in the closet, and they still find you. I feel your pain.

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