Just a thought… The quickest way for a parent to get a child’s attention is to sit down and look comfortable. [Lane Olinghouse]
As someone who hasn’t been the parent of a toddler for more years than I care to count, being around little people reminds me of just how exhausting raising them can be. I’ll give you an example: the sound machine. Not Miami Sound Machine, a child’s precious sound machine, like this….
I was staying yesterday with a friend’s little daughter, giving Mom a much-deserved day out. I had tucked the toddler in, had the baby monitor at my side, had poured myself a nice, rich coffee and was getting set to watch a ball game. That’s when the noise upstairs began. The dull drumming of little feet on the floor as she hopped around told me that a nap might not be in the cards, nor would my anticipated quiet time.
Putting the game on pause (whatever did we do before stopping live TV?), I went up to tuck the little sweetie back into bed, promising we’d go to the park if she had a nap. Then she told me she needed her pants changed. She did, so I put her in a fresh diaper and tucked her in again. After a brief negotiation about a room light being left on (she won; not my battle to fight) I backed out of the room with a quiet sigh and headed downstairs.
Fast forward 15 minutes: I’d finally had some time to put four coats (one basecoat, two polish and one quick-dry top coat) on my nails. And then…crying.
No, it wasn’t me having just notched a nail by picking up my phone, as I am wont to do. It was the sounds of the tot above starting to cry. Up I went, once again.
She was able to explain that the sound machine she plays – waves and nice ambient noise – wasn’t working. I looked at it and, horror of horrors, the battery light was on. This was going to be a challenge.
I promised her I’d fix it (which may or may not have been the truth) and backed out of the room again, pledging to be right back.
First, to find batteries. I found two Cs before digging deep into the kitchen utility drawer to find (wonder of wonders) two more. Phew. Now, how to get into this thing? I think the Russians had an easier time hacking the US election.
I tried YouTube in hopes that some harried parent had taken two minutes of time they didn’t have to post a video of them changing the batteries. No such luck. So I grabbed a screwdriver and started to turn anything that would move. Eventually my ploy worked: two screws came out, a panel that had locked in the battery compartment magically slid off, and voilà! Four batteries ready for replacement. Using a knife (which is probably wrong) I pried the dead ones out and popped in the four new ones.
I took the stairs two at a time, as though I’d just broken a code to save the war effort, and quietly entered my little charge’s room. She was lying there looking at me like a kid seeing Santa on Christmas Eve; she had believed me when I said I’d return with a repaired sound machine, and by gosh, I did! I turned on the sound, gave her a kiss and backed out quietly one more time.
It worked. She slept, the Jays won and the day was SAVED.
My nails? Just one little divot in fresh polish on a thumb. I figure that with digging in a drawer, prying open a battery package, working my way into a sound player and then closing it all up again, that was a tiny casualty in the battle to get a child to take her nap as I’d promised her mom.
I’ll say it again: I don’t know how parents do it, or I’ve forgotten how we did. Everything is a race against time, silent prayers and sighs, compensation, frustration and elation.
Hang in there. It’s worth every moment. Talk to you here tomorrow.