Monday, April 11, 2005

Toddler’s Day Off

Toddler’s Day Off
Stacey Greenberg

As a working mom of two, one of my biggest fantasies is to have the house all to myself for an entire day. My “to do” list would include lots of lazing about with a sprinkling of cleaning for good measure. I like to amuse myself by wondering what my almost three-year-old would do if he had the house all to himself for a day...

· Sleep late. (Since this would never happen with a warm body somewhere in the house to jump on bright and early.)

· Get dressed. (What is usually a traumatic and frustrating experience due to lack of sleep, is now a gleeful scene out of “What Not to Wear.” First things first: pull entire wardrobe out of cabinet and dump on the floor. Second: put on several combinations of shirts and pants before deciding to wear as many clothes at once as possible. Confidently parade in front of full-length mirror decked out in fleece pants with plaid shorts on top, a tie-dyed shirt, Elmo sweatshirt, sparkly red Wizard of Oz shoes, and ski cap.)

· Eat. (Cheetos and candy! A dream breakfast come true since there’s no one to get in the way of him and the secret stash. I can see him carefully pushing his Kinderzeat up to the cabinets, deftly mounting the counter, standing on his sparkly red tippy toes and swiftly pushing the basket of forbidden foods onto the Mexican tile. Then he’d bravely dismount into the pile and eat his breakfast piñata style.)

· Watch TV. (This child has no use for remote controls. He likes to be hands-on. He’d no doubt open the “off limits” drawer in the entertainment center and systematically try to shove each and every video and DVD we own into one of the players. If unsuccessful, he’d flip channels until Elmo, wild animals, kung-fu, or anything animated appeared. As a last resort, he’d amuse himself by opening and closing the DVD player and/or repeatedly turning the TV on and off.)

· Play. (Planes, trains, and automobiles…lions and tigers and bears oh my! The floor would be covered with all of the toys that I so carefully tuck away in bins, boxes, and baskets each night. Not one to limit himself to conventional toys, he’d pull all the pillows and cushions off of the sofa, throw them on top, and dance like he was on TRL.)

· Nap. (Ok, rest. Adding a layer of blankets to the video/toy/pillow pile and burying himself inside could potentially result in some much needed “down time.”)

· Play. (Invigorated by his seven minute snooze, he’d head for higher ground. He’d roll around with the dogs until excess fur covered his clothes and served as the perfect compliment to his chocolate, Cheeto, and drool stained face. To further “entertain” his accidental audience, he’d ride his tricycle in circles around the dining room table and over the dog bed. Put on roller skates. Repeat.)

· Read. (To catch his breath he’d likely pull a book off of one of his shelves and carefully examine it. He might get a little excited and accidentally tear a page. The sweet sound of torn paper would get him really excited. The dining room chairs would give him a boost to uncover, and ferociously rip out, all of the pop-up books on the “off limits” shelves. I’m going to pretend that my extensive book collection would sit quietly and not draw attention to itself.)

· Clean kitchen. (“Mommy likes it when I help clean!” He’d smile to himself as he pushed the Kinderzeat through the pile of empty bags and wrappers up to the sink, turned on the water, and “boy-handled” the spraygun. There would be a few moments of genuinely trying to rinse whatever dishes happened to be in the sink while he inadvertently squirted all of the surfaces in a five foot perimeter. Finally, he’d attack himself with the gun while laughing hysterically.)

· Check email. (Still dripping wet, he’d climb into the office chair and frantically bang the keyboard buttons. He might briefly wonder what the sizzling noise is.)

· Make calls. (He’d grow bored once the computer’s error message stopped beeping and start pushing numbers on the phone. If I’m lucky, he’d carry on long-winded, one-sided conversation with a very nice person in town, rather than, say, Scotland.)

· Eat. (The ice cream is easily accessible thanks to the “freezer on bottom” design of the Kenmore.)

· Sleep. (Content after a day of junk food and destruction, my boy would curl up in bed and fall asleep in record time since, like a tree silently falling in a forest, there’d be no one to take note. Although I imagine he’d wake up with a start around 3:00 am and think, “I forgot the crayons!”)

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