Wednesday, May 25, 2005


Attack of the Forty-Pound Barnacle

The Boy has morphed into a Butt Barnacle. When I’m at work, he gloms onto Mommy and never lets more than about five feet (usually less) come between them. When I get home, he does the same to me.

It’s cute, and sweet, and endearing, and unbelievably annoying after a few hours. The Girl needs attention, too, but it’s hard to juggle both while getting anything else done.

When does the Butt Barnacle phase end? When does the ability to play quietly by himself develop? It’s physically impossible to entertain both The Boy and The Girl while also making dinner, or emptying dishes, or any of the other housekeeping stuff that takes up an astonishing amount of the day.

This is the dark side of the “let’s limit the tv time” theory of parenting. When he isn’t watching tv, which we limit pretty strictly, he has to be doing something else. In olden times, we’d just send him out into the fields, but we live in the burbs and don’t have fields. He’s too little to play outside unsupervised, he can’t read, and he has the energy level of a ferret on meth. Legos sometimes work for a little while, but that’s about it.

When he was smaller, if the weather was nice, we could just take him to the park for an hour or two and run him down. His endurance now defeats that; when we get home, he’s the same forty-pound hummingbird he was when we left.

If mine were a publish-or-perish job, I’d be in deep trouble. Score one for administration…

Ah, too funny!!! We call them "Velcro babies" at our house. Here's some unsolicited, clichéd parenting advice - enjoy the barnacle. Our "The Boy" is now a 7-year old, 65 pound "See ya, Mom, I'm going..." kind of a kid... has bicycle independence, phoning skills and an entrepreneurial spirit (lemonade stand # 14 and counting...) Am considering Palm Pilot as gift for 8th birthday so he can beam me his schedule as he's flying out the front door. Alas, our "The Girl" is only three and still does velcro (barnacle) exceedingly well when mommy has been away at one to many stuffy academic conferences (or just gone to work for the day). Oh yeah, and one more piece of unsolicited advice: the Mother-in-law wasn't (completely?!?) crazy... eventually they even start playing together! L:)
I expect it depends on the kid. Some, like our middle son, can get up and fix breakfast for himself and baby brother, then read stories and play until the grownups awake. He's always been very independent. Our oldest, on the other hand, STILL expects to be entertained every minute-- at age 10. And the youngest (now age 2) has been a daddy-barnacle since the doctor pulled him from my body and handed him to my husband...

And, as many people will tell you: kids playing quietly is often a sign that they're doing something they don't want you to know about.
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