Being a Better Toddler

I’m not talking about making my toddler into a better human being; I’m more interested in bringing out my inner toddler for this post (ok, I’m also really interested with Rypp being a better human being, too).

I’ve gotten into this habit when Rypp’s getting dressed in the morning. He’s going through this phase where he doesn’t want to change out of his PJs in the morning, doesn’t want to leave the house, and basically doesn’t want to do anything. When I was growing up, this was called ‘the terrible twos,’ except he’s not being all that terrible. He tells us, “Dad, taking off my shirt makes me so angry.

He sounds like Zuul from Ghostbusters when he says the word ‘angry.’

And then you ask him why, and he tells you. It’s usually a variation of the idea that taking off his shirt means that he has to go do other stuff, and also means that I’ll be going to work, and he’s not cool with any of that.

I understand. I’m not really cool with any of that, either.

So I’ve taking to making a little mini-ritual, which involves me trying on some of his clothes and pointing out that they don’t fit me at all. This cracks him up, and he then sees the logic of him wearing his own clothes rather than me wearing them on my head.

Today, Catter caught me wearing a (clean) pull-up diaper on my head. He was also wearing one as a hat while rolling on the ground laughing.

I don’t think that this mini-ritual will last too much longer — it’s starting to show signs of wear — but it made me think about some of the things that are wonderful about being a toddler:

  1. Things stop bothering Rypp once they’re over. He doesn’t carry it with him all day long.
  2. Nothing really matters all that much. While he might yell and scream about not getting his way or get really frustrated when something he’s trying to do doesn’t work, it’s not as if he quits. He takes a break and then goes back to it.

I’ve been trying to be a better toddler lately, especially on my runs. I’m a little hard on myself as I run, and yesterday’s 5.4 miler was no exception — I really didn’t like my form, especially in the middle 2 miles of it. I thought that my foot was striking the ground all wrong and that I’d end up hurting my knee again if I kept it up. I kept adjusting and then regressing.

I stopped to throw up a little bit during the run. It was my second stop on that run; the first was to get rid of a pebble that had wedged itself in my toes.

I realized somewhere around there that I was being a terrible toddler. I was getting pissed at myself, which was spiraling down into me not paying attention to my form, which was going to spiral into me hurting myself, especially at these distances.

So I decided to work on being a better toddler. I watched my footfalls and stride length, and if it wasn’t quite right, I registered it, but I didn’t let it bother me. I just adjusted. I did this by focusing on the process rather than focusing on the result.

On tomorrow’s run, I’m going to start out by being the best toddler I can be.