THIS AND THAT: The trouble with watching a 2-year-old

October 7, 2018

Do you want to get a good night’s sleep? All you have to do is spend a day with a 2-year-old.

When we returned last week from Valdosta, Georgia, we brought Livvy with us. She is a blonde, blue-eyed bundle of energy who requires constant watching. From the time she leaves her bed in the morning until she returns briefly for her nap and then again until bedtime, she requires continuous watching.

It’s not that she is a bad child (how could she be, she is my granddaughter!), it’s just that she is constantly in motion.

She wanted to play ball with me the way I do with her older sister and brother. Her idea of playing ball is something I am not familiar with. Instead of getting the plastic bat that goes with the Whiffle ball, she chose a badminton racket. Hitting a ball with the thin side of a racket is difficult for most people, impossible for Livvy who didn’t swing until the ball was already behind her.

That didn’t stop her. She simply went back into the garage and got a different racket. Same pitch, same swing, same result. And then back again for another racket.

If Livvy wants to read a book, beware. She’ll select the book, but the reader needs to be prepared to read it over and over and over.

And if it is Netflix movie that she chooses, don’t be surprised if she asks to see it again and again.

The girl really likes the things she really likes.

Most mornings when we awaken, my wife and I open the front and back doors of the house to let in the morning light. We also usually have the garage door open for our frequent comings and goings to the front and backyard. Not when Livvy is around.

Like her mother many years ago, Livvy is an escape artist extraordinaire. An unlocked door to her is merely an invitation to leave the house. When Livvy awoke, we had to make sure that all the doors were closed and dead bolts engaged. She has already figured out how to open doors locked only at the doorknob.

This little girl who turns 3 later in the month loved to climb the stairs to see what was going on in the upper part of the house. And when we followed her up the stairs, she decided she wanted to go down.

We took her to the playground at Virginia Acres, and Livvy loved all the equipment. Tentative at first with each apparatus, she quickly learned what to do and what not to do and became a master at most everything except the monkey bars.

She cried the first day when it was time to leave the playground, huge tears welling in her eyes as she hollered, “My park, my park!” Even the promise of a return the following day did little to help. What had happened is that she wore herself out. A nap of 2 ½ hours revived her.

Livvy, like many her age, eats what she likes and dismisses the rest. She loves chicken, and if clever watchers tell her that the meat for a meal is chicken, she will gobble it down. She found the pancakes at our favorite breakfast stop to her liking, and by the end of her visit if we asked what she wanted to eat, we got from her, “Pancakes.”

Each night Mary Lou and I crawled upstairs to bed after a day with Livvy. She is exhausting, but so much fun to have around. On Tuesday evening we drove to Statesboro, Georgia, where Livvy’s Dad was working for the day. He took her the rest of the way to their home in Valdosta.

When our kids were Livvy’s age, we didn’t feel the expenditure of energy required to take care of little ones. Add 35 years, however, and the body and mind are not what they once were. We had no jobs to go to. We had few scheduled events to attend. We had only Livvy to be responsible for. And we were exhausted.

If I didn’t realize it before, I know it now. Young people are the ones who need to raise kids. Mary Lou and I slept well on Tuesday night. And Livvy, we were told, was glad to get home to her parents, brother, sister and dog.

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