I used to think Molly was somewhat slow to get around. She just tended to lag behind in whatever we were doing, whether it be walking or washing her hands. But, I thought, she is a toddler, and a small one at that. So of course she is slow. It is probably just my perception, for instance when I get impatient dropping Molly off at school, I have to get to work for our 9:00 meeting and probably prepare for a meeting before work, and probably do an errand before that. And there I am waiting for Molly to wash her hands so she can officially start school. I can feel each second ticking by.
But a few instances have come up lately which make me think I am not crazy. Maybe Molly really does take her sweet time, even for a toddler. A few examples…
One night while getting Molly ready for bed, I decide to actually time one part of the process. How long would it take Molly to get herself on the toilet and try to urinate? Sure, it is tough since she is small. She has to take off her diaper and climb up a step stool to the toilet and sit awkwardly on it. But it seemed to me to take an extraordinarily long time. So I timed it one night when I had the patience and time to just let it play out. It took 8 minutes. She was actually on the toilet seat for literally about 5 seconds of that time. If this does not sound like a long time, then set a stop watch and just sit there doing nothing else and wait for it to hit 8 minutes. You will see what I mean. And that was just the very first step of the whole bedtime routine. And this happens every night. Now, I could always strip Molly of her diaper and just plunk her on the toilet seat, and sometimes I have to do just that. But it does not really help Molly with potty training or independence. Plus it really pisses her off.
When dropping off Claire at school with me in the morning, I carry Molly into school to keep Claire on time. But I let Molly walk back. We arrive at a crowded school along with almost 900 kids and many of their parents. By the time we leave, usually we are the only ones around except for a straggler or two. Everyone else has simply walked to their cars and left, while Molly slowly climbs down each step and grabs each pole along the way. One day on the way into school, one of Claire’s friend’s little brother, Boone, who is Molly’s age, was walking into school with his dad and sister. Seeing Boone walking, Molly asked to walk too. I decided to give her a chance. Within a minute, Boone and family were way ahead of us, and soon completely out of site. Molly’s pace was just so slow, we weren’t even close to keeping up with Boone, who was walking along not quickly, but with focus and purpose, while Molly lolly gagged behind. It is not just because Molly is small. She actually moves in some sort of slow motion.
One last anecdote… At swimming class, sometimes the class has to sit and wait for Molly to finish eating her gummy bear, which she receives as a treat between her exercises while the other kids get a turn. After the other kids have had their turn, Molly is still chewing, and the teacher has to just sit and wait for Molly to finish before getting her back into the water so she does not choke on her treat.
Part of the problem here is that I am always in a hurry. Really, a toddler really should be allowed to take things slowly. Unfortunately for Molly, her dad only has some much time and patience since there is always something that needs to be done within x minutes, and x does not normally include 10 minutes to navigate a flight of stairs. Sometimes we are able take it slow on the weekends, which is nice for Molly and everyone else. Idea for next weekend: we should take Molly to Claire’s school and just let her explore the walk into school as long as she wants and get it out of her system. She would wonder with delight why I am just hanging out and not prodding her along.