Occasionally my toddler has more than a 3 minute attention span, but that’s usually when she’s doing something like examining the contents of the trashcan or climbing on the table and not when there is a pretty, age-appropriate learning activity set up in front of her.
If it seems like something she shouldn’t be allowed to do, or should be reserved for the big kids, then she’s all about it. Or, if she feels like she’s helping, she’s happy. I send her to gather everyone’s shoes before we leave the house, or give her actual trash to throw away, or give her a towel to clean up a spill, and she’s busy…for about 3 minutes.
She gets to play with kitchen stuff that isn’t breakable and has a few drawers she knows are ok to get into.
This toddler of mine doesn’t want crayons when there are markers. She doesn’t want a highchair when there are bar stools. She doesn’t want bedtime when there are siblings still up playing. She wants her big sister’s art project and her big brother’s collection of toy sharks. She knocks over blocks and destroys tea parties and cities on a regular basis. When I hear the big kids complaining about their little sister I cringe. Partly because I hear myself in them. She does make it hard to get anything done. And the way she bosses us all around is amazing considering her vocabulary consists of approximately 7 words.
But she does give the best hugs and the best kisses, making sure never to leave anyone out, often going around for round 2, just to make sure. And who doesn’t love a hugging, kissing cutie pie? She can break up the tension of a fight between her older brother and sister by showing off her belly button and lifting shirts to find theirs, too. Suddenly everyone is laughing and the bickering is in the past.
For now, with a toddler in tow, we don’t have that many sit down math lessons or chapter book read alouds. We take lots of breaks from coloring, cooking, building blocks, and cleaning up to get our belly buttons poked, give and receive slobbery kisses, get dragged around the house by a little chubby (and often sticky) hand, trying to decipher her pre-verbal commands and guessing what she wants next. For now, changing my expectations and attitude about homeschooling with a toddler is much more helpful than googling more activities that might keep her busy for a few minutes. She’ll be one of the big kids in the blink of an eye and then I’ll probably miss this all. That’s what my husband tells me on my rough days, the days I complain that we can’t get anything done. It’s true, it’s hard to realize sometimes, but it’s true.