Monday, July 16, 2012

Parenting Fail

Nothing makes you feel like you're an incompetent mother quite like all those blogs out there from moms who provide three trillion learning activities for their kids every day starting from the moment they're born. "This activity really enhances their fine motor skills," they say. "Newborns are really receptive to body massages which promote bonding," they advise. "Your toddler can easily learn all 50 states," they claim.

Then I glance from my computer to my toddler running around the house in just a diaper with his hands flailing above his head as he's making motorcycle noises. That's when the feelings of incompetence really set in.

The blogs convinced me that I needed to work on Eli's fine motor skills. All he does is jump and play! I told myself. He's so behind! He can't even pick up a lima bean with tweezers. How will he ever do well in school?!?

I raced off to Wal-Mart to buy some craft balls in an effort to help Eli learn how to maneuver small objects. When I got home I dumped them out in front of him along with a muffin tin and had him put the balls into the muffin slots.

He quickly lost interest in the muffin tin -- furthering my suspicion that he, in fact, has no fine motor skills. Oh no! He'll never be the brain surgeon we hoped he would be! If he doesn't even care about putting craft balls into a muffin tin, how will he have the discipline to learn how to scalpel?!? 

As Eli became interested in sorting the craft balls by color and mumbling about which ones were smaller and which ones were bigger, I snuck off to put Carson down for a nap.

That's when disaster struck. I came back down to find Eli in all his gross motor glory.
The damage was already done, so I let Eli continue to throw the "fluffies" in the air while he screamed in bliss. This will be a good lesson on helping clean up a mess, I assured myself, proud to have turned a mess into a learning opportunity.

As Eli shifted his attention from the fluffies onto a new activity, this unsuccessful moment in my parenting repertoire happened:

Me: "Okay Eli. It looks like you're all done playing with the fluffies. Will you come help me put them back in the bag please?"
Eli: "No."
Me: "Eli, you made a big mess, now you need to clean it up."
Eli: "Don't want to."
Me: "Can you help me put that green one in the bag?"
Eli ignores me.
Me: "Eli. If you don't help me clean these up then I'm not going to let you play with the fluffies again."
Eli ignores.
Me: "If you don't help me I'm putting the fluffies away forever.
Eli ignores.
Me: "Okay Eli. I'm going to VACUUM the fluffies up and you'll NEVER SEE THEM AGAIN!"
Eli perks up a little, but mostly ignores me.
I get the vacuum and begin to realize the vacuum threat may have been a bad idea.
Me: "Eli. You don't want me to vacuum up the fluffies because they will be gone FOREVER!"
Eli: "Fluffies vacuum?"
Me: "We need to put the fluffies in the bag or else I'm going to suck them up in the vacuum and you'll never see them again."
I suck up two fluffies for dramatic effect. 

Eli then begins bringing the fluffies over to the vacuum to be sucked up. I could just see him thinking, Hey. Great idea, Mom! Vacuuming the fluffies would be so much easier that picking them up. Let me help you out with that.

I picked up all the fluffies by myself while Eli played with the vacuum.

You win again Eli.


David and Mary said...

This made me laugh so hard.. I can just hear Eli screaming about flying fluffies! If it helps.. I worried about fine motor skills too with our kids. I was afraid they wouldn't be able to use scissors in Kindergarten!

Laura said...

I have to agree this was a funny post. Eli is a one man show. I could watch him for hours!!