Elmo. . . The Little Red Monster I Would Love To Hate

I have recently started a job which involves the care and entertainment of a 13 month old. For a number of reasons I thought this would be a good idea. 1) I figured hanging out with kids playing with toys and napping all day would be a fun and easy way to earn a little extra cash. 2) It has been a few years since I have had any sort of responsibility for the well being of a baby, and seeing as how I am only a few month away from going full-time, I figured I could use the practice.

The first 2 days with this baby were awesome. He smiled and laughed and danced to my silly songs, he ate all of his lunch and snacks without any fuss, napped without fuss and on a schedule roughly matching my own napping schedule, and even happily put up with my trying to remember how to change a diaper.

On the 3rd day the baby gods created separation anxiety.

I used to be under the assumption that if a small child screamed and cried at the sight of their alternative care giver it was a sure sign that, at best, said caregiver was not a good match, or something much more sinister was going on.

As it turns out, children are much smarter than anyone really gives them credit for and will eventually come to the following logical conclusion:

You being here + My Mommy putting on makeup and work clothes = My mommy is leaving

This morning, after 2 easy and uneventful days I was feeling very confident as I let myself in and said good morning to the little boy running about the living room in his pajamas.

Upon seeing me he started to scream, and I tried to console him. He screamed louder. His mother explained what was in the fridge for lunch, gave him a hug and kiss then left for work. He had a complete and utter meltdown at the front door.

I sang and danced and enthusiastically built a block tower showing him how fun it was in an effort to distract him.

He screamed louder and kicked over my tower.

I tried picking him up and hugging him in an effort to comfort.

He screamed and smeared snot all over my shirt.

I tried encouraging him to eat his feelings away and thus creating poor eating habits by feeding him yogurt to calm him.

He screamed and threw a spoonful of yogurt at my face.

I finally resorted to something I promised myself I would never resort to with any child, especially not my own in the future. . . I turned on the television.

He stopped screaming, for some reason took an empty milk jug out of the recycling bin, and sat, finally quiet, in front of the television for the next 23 glorious minutes.

Thank the Lord in heaven for Elmo.

I didn't even try to take away the milk jug, deciding that it would be better to simply count my blessings, enjoy the quiet, and admit that maybe the television wasn't so bad after all.

I still think that too many children in our society watch way too much TV, and that it is so easy for parents to fall into the routine of letting them simply because it's an easy way to get a few minutes peace. . . But I am no longer intending to cut television out of my child's life completely.


Pocketbuddha's Mom said...

Remember your sister when she was a baby? I tried to go back to school full time; left her at a home daycare and she cried for 2 days from the time I dropped her off until the time I picked her up. I had to take another year off my studies and stay home with you guys.

Happy Birthday a demain!

Mom - again said...

http://bit.ly/4CmdDx "Pregnant Women are Smug" present company excepted, of course.