Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Chutes & Ladders

That's what our version was called, but there's also "Snakes and Ladders," which amounts to the same thing: You roll the dice, move that many spaces, and if you land on a ladder you jump ahead; if you land on a snake (or chute) you slide backwards. First one to the end wins. It's a great game for small children.

It's also what parenting them feels like. You plod along for awhile, and then suddenly--whoom!--they figure something new out and are suddenly more grown up. But then--whoosh!--they suddenly slide backward into something you thought they'd outgrown. Overall the game is meant to result in progress, and you will eventually reach the 100 square, but the human mind being what it is, sometimes it seems like the chutes are dominating.

With D1, it's potty training that keeps sending us down the chutes. Every time we have a day where she's dry all day, and even takes herself when my back is turned, it's balanced out by a day where we go through every pair of pants in her drawer. Over the last year there has certainly been progress, yes, but honestly--a year? a YEAR? And we're still nowhere close to done as far as I can tell. Yet who knows when we might step on a ladder and shoot up to the top?

With D2, it's sleeping through the night. Every once in awhile he'll start going at least six or seven hours for a few nights and I think, "Ah, at last!" But then, whether from sickness or teething or just orneriness, he'll be waking up two or three times in the night again. Why he's so thirsty at night, I don't know. I'm not about to let him sleep with us, as this would not involve any actual sleep; he thinks our bed is The Place to Party. (Cosleeping with infants I can do. Cosleeping with toddlers mystifies me.) Letting him cry it out just makes him thirstier. So I just keep going up and down the same little round of chute and ladder, waiting for him to grow out of it and getting more perturbed with each round.

Really, the speed at which they learn is amazing. It's just that they have so much to learn before they can do even the most basic things.


Anonymous said...
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Rose said...

Ugh, that's why I'm reluctant to even bother getting started with Jane. I dread the constant setbacks. At least with learning to walk she WANTED to walk.

Now go and write a cheery, encouraging post about the upsides of having two small children, challenging their minds, and feeding them healthy food on a budget (and in a clean house). Today I don't want any pessimistic philosophy to change my mind about wanting this baby to come sooner rather than later. =)