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!