Like many other days of new experiences living with a toddler, yesterday I found myself experiencing a new way to dine. There I sat on a toddler-sized chair with my knees peeking over the top of the table with my almost two-year old on my lap. I noshed on a leftover hamburger sliced in half and stuffed into a hot dog bun, while my son chatted gleefully rubbing his cold pickle-juiced hands all over me. It would have been a great moment to capture to show my son how we lived and loved in his early years.
So, you may be asking why I was eating dinner at a child’s table. If you are questioning this, you probably have not experienced life with a toddler. Toddlers are tiny dictators who are on the verge of a total meltdown at the drop of a hat – literally. So I do what I can to keep him happy while trying to get food on the table. Yesterday this meant sitting at his table with him on my lap to get him to eat his dinner.
There we were, the two of us enjoying our food together. It’s not a moment I could have ever dreamed up, but now it’s a special (and humorous) memory that I have.
I’m learning more every day that life with a toddler is unpredictable and messy, and improvisation is my new best friend. As my son grows older and wishes with all the might his tiny body can muster to assert some independence, this desire manifests in a toddler meltdown complete with screaming, crying, whining, and desperation. This is teaching me patience. I constantly work to calmly understand what he is trying to tell me and just go with it.