entertaining a child

Christian is two in almost every sense of the word: the temper tantrums, the clumsiness, the moments of hilarity that every parent lives for. And he is also all boy: pushing, stealing, falling down and getting back up like nothing happened, and flirting. (I am only half kidding about that last one.)

Some parents find entertaining toddlers of this variety easy. Some friends of ours has a daughter a few months younger than Christian who is obsessed with the movie 'Shrek.' Pop in either Shrek movie and she is glued to the screen. Play the movie over and over, and she ignores you for hours. This TV tactic is common amongst young parents. As much as I do not want Christian to become a TV addict, I must admit I have tried it myself.

Those attempts were of course utter failures. My two year old son has no interest in TV. None. I sometimes don't know what to do with myself. Toddlers are self centered by nature, and they need that time that is devoted to them to be able to function. With out TV our only options are tickle fights (which can only last a few minutes since he can't fight back) and reading. You put twenty kiddy books in front of Christian and he will expect you to read each and everyone to him.

I guess that is a good thing. A passion for literature is something that seems to be dying more with each new generation. Why read a book when you could just watch the movie? I like to read, so it seems fitting that Christian does as well. However, I have completely memorized Dr. Seuss' ABC's, I'm starting to wish they'd make a movie of Are You My Mother, and if I have to read the insipid One Kitten For Kim one more time I will need shock therapy.

Christian loves books. If you read to him, you will have his undivided attention for at least 20 minutes. Bekah bought a board book with pictures hidden under flaps at Costco a couple of weeks ago, and that book has entertained him more than anything else. Best purchase we have ever made for him. He will turn the pages cover to cover and then back again, examining every secret window with the type of wide eyed wonder that only a child could possess. He sat through almost an entire episode of Law & Order the other night with nothing more than that one book to capture his attention; the only time he ever looked away from the book is when he found a picture of a girl pushing a horse out of a barn. He looks up at me and asks, "Pushing?" Once I confirmed that he correctly identified the picture, he went right back to reading.

We have found one other (slightly discouraging) method of entertainment. Christian likes to destroy things; he loves making messes. Yet another personality trait he inherited from me. He doesn't play with his toys, but you'd never know by looking at his room. If we clean his room then shut him inside, we easily have about 45 minutes to an hour to do anything we need to while he pulls every toy out of its place and drops it somewhere on the floor. Once every toy is out and scattered, we repeat the process. Clean the room so he can clutter it again. Or we just read to him some more.

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