PARENTS

Toddler Tales: The Dawdler

08/08/2012 12:54 | Updated 22 May 2015

Toddler Tales: The dawdlerD pauses for one of her many breaks during our walk

One of the most striking things you notice after living with a toddler for some time is their ability to while away seconds, minutes and hours doing very, very little. One of Diana's greatest passions these days is dawdling.

For example, this time last year she was just taking her first steps and eagerly trying to move from place to place. Now that she's a proficient walker, she couldn't care less about actually getting anywhere.

At the moment, D lives in an idyllic world where she has time to stop and smell the roses (Literally. She's started sniffing every flower and leaf we pass whenever we go for walks.). She can spend an hour slowly making her way through mealtimes and requires a minimum of three books read to her before she will deign to begin the day's activities. This is actually a relaxing and enjoyable way to live... if, like a toddler, you have no responsibilities. It's a little more stressful for an adult who's used to rushing through everything.

Lately, I've become an enabler. Even though D dawdles every step of the way, walking with her hand in hand is a lot more pleasant than dealing with the buggy. Although we only go buggy-free on short walks, giving D free rein to walk independently is a guaranteed way to kill an hour and barely make it three steps beyond my front door.

Just the process of selecting which items D will bring with her on the walk has become so time-consuming (the average weight load now includes toy buggy, two bags, 14 rocks she's collected from various places, a doll and a snack) that we both feel exhausted before the walk has even begun (Bolshy, desperately waiting to be walked and patiently sulking by the door in an attempt to expedite Diana, isn't impressed either).

D's dawdling manifests itself in different ways on the walk: sometimes, she faux-poos and sits in a crouching position screaming 'Poo! Poo!,' she pats and counts bricks that we pass: '4, 9, 7' (her numeracy skills need some work) and she wildly waves at every passerby (including canine), screaming 'Hello!' and 'Bye-bye!' repeatedly until they are out of our range of vision.

Once she brought a magazine with her and tried to read while pushing her buggy and eating banana chips. She won't let me help her carry anything, and any attempt to remove an item resulted in a complete breakdown. We made it to the corner and I gave up.

When D's not dawdling, she's fleeing me like a lightning bolt (perhaps letting her watch the Olympics sprinters - I justified it as a way to inspire her and teach her patriotism - was not the best idea). Sometimes she'll just take off, ignore me when I call her and run even faster when she sees me coming after her. She's also taken to galloping like a colt, hopping like a rabbit and darting with unbelievable speed, which she did this weekend when she spotted a handbag she liked on a lady passing us in the street and actually tried to mug her.

Provided D's penchant for fine jewellery and handbags doesn't turn into a Thomas Crown situation, I can't deny that all of this Olympics action isn't giving me ideas. D's sprinting and jumping are looking very promising for 2036. Provided the dawdling phase is over by then...

Suggest a correction