I Had to Let Go of My Idea of Fun to Make Way for My Toddler's

nicole fabian-weber

Despite the fact that they are small in stature and (hopefully) spend more time sleeping than the average adult, toddlers, as every parent knows, can be more exhausting than a 10K. Their curiosity and zest for life is downright magical, but holy energy! They never stop!

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When my now-3½-year-old daughter was about 2, she had a favorite activity: running. When she wasn't sleeping or eating, it literally was all she wanted to do. Run. Run in circles. Run around the kitchen table. Run (away from me) at the park. Run, run, run. It didn't stop. And a marathoner I am not, so, need I even say it? This was not the most fun thing in the world for me. 

As far as "leisure activities" with my daughter went, as anyone who's ever had a 2-year-old knows, I didn't have much say. Lying on the couch and cuddling clearly were not as high on my daughter's priority list as they were on mine. So, ran we did. 

As a card-carrying crafter, I tried to coax my daughter to sit down at the kitchen table with me for an afternoon of DIY magic, but rarely did it work. Painting? Drawing? That cute crown made of pipe cleaners and beads I saw on Pinterest? Didn't she find them all intriguing?

Nope. Nothing could trump my daughter's insatiable desire to run like the wind.

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When I got pregnant with my son and there was no downturn in my daughter's penchant for running, I came up with the genius idea of taking her to fenced-in tennis court, so she could run her little heart out in safety while I parked my butt on the comfy acrylic cushion on the ground. Win-win. I would still try to tempt my little girl with freshly sharpened pencils and glue sticks from time to time, but she would always lose interest after a few minutes. I had to accept it. I had a runner, not a crafter. 

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A few months after my son was born, though -- and after I had stopped trying to push my DIY agenda on my daughter -- something happened: She developed an interest in crafts. She frequently asked for the "art box" and often suggested "coloring" when I asked her what she wanted to do. We made crowns (thanks, Pinterest!) and little houses for her Calico Critters; we did potato stamping ('memba that?).

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To this day, painting and doing crafts is still one of my daughter's favorite activities, and one we love doing together. She still loves running -- though, fortunately, she realizes that some places are better for that than others. 

Looking back, clearly I was trying to force something (something I was interested in) on my little girl before she was ready. And, as with many things in life, once I accepted what was, things started changing. My daughter may not be into sitting down to a table full of fabric scraps and glue and glitter forever, so for now, I'm enjoying it. And if and when she does lose interest, I'll try not to sweat it. 

 

Image via Nicole Fabian-Weber

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