An Eye-Twitching Good Time

Memoir Mondays

I heard it told once that a person hasn’t experienced agony until they’ve had to sit and wait for a toddler to do something by themselves. From the point-of-view of a non-parent or a parent of older kids who has forgotten what it’s like to have a toddler, that statement probably seems extremely melodramatic, but I’m convinced that it’s one of the great truths of life. There is just something so teeth-grittingly frustrating about standing and watching a toddler try to zip up her coat when you’ve been ready to go for five minutes, or sitting and squeezing your steering wheel while they fumble with their seat belt in the back of the car.

Of course, sometimes you’ll snap and yank the zipper up yourself, or leap out of the car to slam their belt in place before the scream escapes your throat, but you can’t just be doing that all the time. This is a growing child, after all, and they have to learn, or else one day you’re going to find that you’ve raised a pathetic little ball of jelly that refuses to do anything for him- or herself.

But sometimes it’s so hard.

I don’t consider myself to be a control freak by a long shot, but there’s something about watching a kid fumble with a toy that makes me twitch like you wouldn’t believe. It’s such a foolish thing to let yourself get worked up over, but when I watch my daughter struggle to fit two tiny Lego pieces together or push the Play Doh mold hard enough to actually create the intended shape, it makes my eye attempt to escape its socket. And the one that gets me the worst? That’s definitely when we’re playing a board game that involves a spinner and she consistently hits it in such a way that it doesn’t spin so much as shudder half an inch to one side. I can’t even describe the way that makes my teeth ache. Of course, never are all these things made more evident to myelf as right after Christmas when there are a whole bunch of new toys to obsess over. As of the writing of this post I’ve spent half the day playing with both Lego blocks and Play Doh sets, and my psyche barely withstood it.

But then, on the other hand, there’s absolutely something amazing to be said for just curling up on the floor with your kid and building multi-colored castles (with no doors or windows) and molding squishy-looking neon-colored cupcakes. Every single moment of the experience may not be relaxing, and there will definitely be a few instances that make you want to crack your head on the hardwood, but it’s quality time that a lot of people, unfortunately, don’t bother to experience with their children. Plus, if you can put away that parental mentality for a little while and train yourself to ignore those teeth-gritting moments, you can actually have a bit of childish fun yourself, free from the boring, hard-working world of the adult.

So I’ll keep doing it. I’ll keep closing my eyes or looking away when my daughter drops that Lego piece for the eighteenth time, and I’ll wait patiently with bated breath while it takes her ten minutes to pick all the little bits of Play Doh “frosting” out of the icing mold, because if you can just look past the agonizing moments all of the other moments are pure gold. And I wouldn’t trade them for anything, even if my eye twitches right out of my head.

Also, I don’t think I know any other 5-year-old who would have managed to keep the colors in neat piles like that. 😛

6 thoughts on “An Eye-Twitching Good Time

  1. I was just about to comment on the Legos being neatly organized by color when I noticed the caption. That’s impressive. In our house they would be in one big pile. Legos are awesome! I’m a follow the directions builder while my two are the creative types. Except, our oldest will build a set from directions, leave it together for 20 minutes, then tear it apart to build something else. It makes me cringe to watch him spend an hour building something just to tear it apart!

    • They’ll never be so neat again…lol We’d just opened them and they were separated by color in bags in the box, so we kept them that way while we were playing. Now they’re in a giant messy pile in a canvas container. XD
      I get the appeal of creating something from scratch, but I’m a follow-the-directions builder myself. There’s something about building a pre-conceived set that appeals to me for some reason. 🙂

      • Exactly! When I buy something I expect it to look like it does on the box. There’s satisfaction in following 173,863 steps to build something in two hours. I enjoy creating, but much prefer the directions. Sorta glad to know she didn’t keep them all sorted. No need to be OCD at 5 🙂

        • Yeah, no, that would have been insane. lol Although, my mother-in-law has a big set at home for the girls to play with and she regularly goes through and reorganizes them by color. >.> I like organization too, but I can’t imagine bothering to waste my time when the kid is just going to mess it all up again later! lol

  2. My 4-year-old got a big box of Lego for Christmas and has just been been building and taking apart constantly for the last week or so. Hours and hours on end. The worst part is that he actually likes “taking apart” better than building, so he keeps asking me to build him things and then immediately destroys it.

    My wife asked me if I wanted a Lego X-wing for Christmas (you know, the 600-piece one) and while I would have dearly loved it, I had to say absolutely not. There’s no way I’m spending 3 hours building the thing for my son to destroy it 30 seconds later.

    • I feel ya there. I would probably have so many Lego sets if it weren’t for the fact that I’d end up like the dad in the Lego Movie, gluing everything together so my daughter couldn’t “ruin” them. lol

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