In Oprah-ese, they’re called “aha” moments — moments in life where you learn something significant about yourself, or life, that you never realized before. As the parent of two toddlers, I have a different phrase for teachable moments: “L & L” moments, or “Live and learn.”
I have many “L & L” moments. In fact, I have more than I’d like to admit. They hit me weekly, if not daily. You’d think that with a four-year-old and almost two-year-old, I’d know that you should always carry a spare outfit in the car just in case. Or you’d think I’d know that bringing toys to keep little hands occupied during that hour-long doctor’s office is not optional but a must (there are crayon marks on one of my daughter’s specialist’s walls to prove that). Or you’d think I’d be savvy enough to know that taking your kids swimming at the Y when one has a sinus infection isn’t the greatest idea. But I’m still learning — every day.
A few weeks ago, I had one of my latest “L & L” moments. My husband didn’t have to go into work until the late afternoon so we decided to hit our local library with my nearly two-year-old son for a toddler story and play time. Afterward, we decided — or rather, I decided – we’d all go out for a sit-down early lunch.
Never mind that my little guy would be exhausted after story time and the half hour of play time that follows it. And never mind that he takes a nap around 11 a.m. every day like clockwork.
In my head, it would all be OK. I decided we could push his nap until a little later and we’d have a fabulous lunch with adult conservation and my little guy would eat his lunch without a single complaint, color on his paper placemat contently, and everything would be great.
I was wrong. So wrong.
Things started to go south right after after our drinks arrived. Very excited to have his own cup with a straw, my son insisted on drinking his milk without help, but he kept spilling it everywhere. When I tried to help, he squawked. Then he wanted to get out of his high chair and whined until I caved. Two words for that: bad idea.
In the end, my son ate approximately 3 bites of his pasta lunch and climbed over my lap and whined the rest of the time. My husband and I scarfed down our meals in about six minutes flat, boxed the rest in to-go boxes, and admitted defeat. We asked for the check. I decided I’d rather eat at home in peace than with a crying toddler in my lap.
So lesson learned. If you hit the toddler story and play time, don’t try to squeeze in lunch too. It’s just too much — for you and your child.