Right Behaviour – Wrong Place

Toddlers don’t excite me. Yes, I know they’re very cute and there’s nothing so lovely as those little arms sneaking around your neck for a snuggle. They’re highly entertaining, I’ll grant you that. They’re learning a heap and changing every day. But they don’t excite me.

Mostly I think because they aren’t as reliable as a baby…you know, if you put a baby down 10 minutes later they’re generally where you left them. Once they start crawling it’s a whole different matter and toddling – forget it: the (19 month old) Butterfly has found his way out the gate (*someone* but never *me* left it open) three times in the last month or two – AND across the road. It’s not a mad-busy road but we do get boy-racers fairly often. And, it’s a road.

Of course, him walking across the road with the nine-year-old Hare is fine. Walking across the road with Craig or I is fine, but alone…

Likewise his competent use of a hammer. Call it genetics or call it environment or call it the environment acting on genetics – whatever, Craig is an ex-builder and his family is riddled with engineers and mechanics and builders and other useful people. There is a lot of creative tools around our house and most of Craig’s spare time is spent renovating our house. The Hare and the Owl are always building boats or catapaults or huts or cars of some sort. The Hare uses the battery-drill as well as an adult. The older boys are both a dab hand with saws and screw-drivers. They know not to ask me stuff about building or engineering because their knowledge outstripped mine long ago. (I think I was in my late 20s when I realised there were flat-head and phillips screwdrivers in the world, and they did different jobs! Grief, who knew!) But generally the older boys know what is acceptable to fix with screws or hit with a hammer. Not Mr Butterfly.

In the last week we have had, with a full-sized adult hammer: hammering tables, hammering chairs, hammering the sofa, attempting to hammer Mummy and my favourite…hammering the windows. There is something about hearing a hammer hitting windows which turns me into an Olympic grade sprinter. Call it motivation.

Hammering in itself is not a bad thing. It’s kept plenty of people employed all around the world. Hammer-ers tend to make useful things. Hammering things which aren’t intended for hammering is a whole different matter.

Similiarly, jumping itself is not a bad thing. Kids take it up as an occupation fairly early in life. Trampolines provide hours of fun and we have been known to allow small children to jump on certain beds and somewhat larger children to knee-jump on those same beds. Jumping on Mummy’s tummy at 2.34am is not, however, ideal. Especially when Mummy  should have been dreaming of Colin Firth as Mr Darcy leaving that pond in a white shirt. 🙂 hmmmmmmmmm

(Sorry distracted moment there…)

Drinking is also good. Tends to keep people alive, so I assume there must be something in it. Finding a toddler attempting to drink a piping hot cup of coffee that he’s pushed chairs around in order to climb up next to the table on which it was resting well out of his way – again…motivation.

So I think that’s the biggest problem I have with toddlers, and why they don’t excite me. It’s not that they do bad things – it’s just they do the right thing in the wrong place. Often.  And when it’s my toddler, it’s my job to get off my bum and gently point the child and hammer in the direction of a slab of wood. Every time. Or hold said child and whisper inane things like, “it’s byes time, Darling. Jumping all gone now,” despite screams. Or quickly provide said child with a flight across the room (in my arms, OK) and an alternative drink before he scalds himself.

So calling all you Mums and Moms and Dads out there – what stories about correct behaviour in the wrong place can you tell?

And if you want to read a classic, especially if you have sons, check out blog buddy faemoms post here.

(This is officially how I help put food on the table. If you’ve found this article useful, please feel free to use the Koha button just above my blogroll. Even the smallest amount is appreciated. 🙂 )


About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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21 Responses to Right Behaviour – Wrong Place

  1. hakea says:

    What a marvellous and humorous post. I was right there with you.

    Toddlers are wonderful. Now all my boys are at school I wish I could have another toddler around, just to keep me on my toes.

  2. Li-ling says:

    This reminded me so much of John Holt’s description (in How Children Fail) of how one of the children of the family he visited with often was extremely naturally mechanical, surrounded by a family of mechanics.

  3. Asta Burrows says:

    You had me laughing out loud! Partly because it is very funny, partly because I am realising that life will be tougher now and I am already exhausted! 🙂 My lad is now 14 month as climbing up on everything and grabbing everything. He climbs up his highchair then turns around to face the table leans over to grab something, normally his cup, and then he will stand there and drink, and he is so quick! I can’t turn around for a second… the other day we suddenly found him on top of the coffee table, but we have never seen him even attempt to get up there (it is not the lowest style), so we didn’t see that one coming! I agree – life was easier when we could just put him on his playmat and know that he would still be there 5 minues later!

  4. Lauren says:

    I too miss the days where I could put J down on the floor, turn around and do something and return and he hadnt moved. Now, I turn around and cant find him for 5 minutes because he is hiding away from me ON PURPOSE.

    I almost had a heartattack a few weeks ago when we were all sitting in the lounge, S and I turned around and saw him standing on one of the dining room table chairs and then he just jumped. Just like that. And landed on his feet!

    So Scary! You really do need to have eyes in the back of your head now!

  5. Thank you Lord for not having tools in my house!!!! Haha. I could just imagine.

  6. Laura Weldon says:

    I used to think toddlers were delightful (albeit time consuming) because my first two were somewhat reasonable small human beings. I even had the idea they were such fabulous toddlers because I was a good mother.

    Hah! Then I had my third child. He was just as adorable, but compelled by curiosity (and those dang mechanically inclined genes) to explore, take apart, and physically master everything. We had to lash the chairs together after every meal or, at 14 months, he’d push a chair across the room and climb it as a foothill to scale a much higher piece of furniture all in the seconds it took me to turn off a teapot. He disassembled heat vents, window locks, and a doorknob during the idle hours I thought he was safely napping in his crib, not knowing he could climb in and out until finding his cache of “spare parts” tucked between the mattress and wall.

    Now that he’s taller than I am (and just as adorable) I have to admit, it’s easier not having to watch his every move but I do miss those little baby arms giving me a hug.

    • Yes, I hear you. Craig had to use fancy square screws to screw e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g in when the Hare was small – we still don’t have towel rails or the doofer to put the toilet paper on, in place. Their compulsion to explore and take apart makes life very interesting, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Except perhaps a little older Butterfly with a little more street-wise…guess that’ll happen one day. 😉 ) And yes, those baby arms are something you just can’t explain.

  7. amusing post and lol at the hakea-you dialogue.

  8. faemom says:

    Finally, time to read!

    Toddlers do keep you on your toes. It was with toddlers that I learned that I had reserves of energy and patience I had no where near began to tap pre-toddler area. Though I find many of those re-teaching moments that happen nearly every day (as in hammer wood, not windows) in toddlerhood, happen about once a week in childhood. Maybe it does get better . . . .

  9. oh my goodness – Sam’s new trick is getting up on his hands and knees and rocking back and forth… I shudder to think of how life will change once he realizes, very soon, that he can go forward! Funny post and well said – right behavior, wrong place!

    • It is a fun-time. It is a fun-time. It is a fun-time. Just trying to convince myself there…just as well toddlers are so cute really otherwise we’d never forgive them for all of their adventures! Sam sounds like he is close to crawling – at least they’re slow-ish that first month…hee hee. 😉

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