Last night, bath time was over and I pulled the plug. But my daughter was not quite ready to get out. She was industriously playing with the cloth. Rolling it into a ball and then concentrating on fingering the corners and opening it up and hanging it on the tap in a way it would not slide off. She was working intently and having fun while improving her hand and eye coordination and her fine motor skills. So I let her be.
While she entertained herself in the empty tub I brushed and flossed my teeth and then sat next to the tub with a book. She briefly glanced at my book, curious what I had, but promptly went back to her project. Her face had the adorable look she gets when she focuses, with her top lip pushed out. She put the wet cloth on her belly. On her head. On her ducky's head. Finally when her task was done and she started pulling out all her rubber duckies I ask if she'd like to go to sleep. We bid her toys night-night and took her to bed.
Toddlers have a much bigger attention span than we give them credit. Frequently, we necessarily have to halt their inspecting and experimenting. "Let me put your shoes on because we have to be somewhere... Don't play with that because you'll get an owie... Let's clean up because it's time for bed..."
So I try to have a reason when I have to kibosh her train of thought. The fact that something else would be a little more exciting for me is not a reason. The fact that I am somewhat inconvenienced is not a reason. Yesterday she helped me peel eggs even though I had just washed the floor and most of her peels were not making it into the assigned garbage pile. Last night the tub was filled slowly because she wanted to use the low pressure hose instead of the full pressure tap.
I am hoping that my daughter will be sufficient in problem solving. That she will be capable of entertaining herself. That she will develop patience and perseverance. Partly because I give her the time.
And hopefully she will be more agreeable in her toddler years when I can't give her the time.
Come on, sweetheart. You are doing a great job washing the floor but we must get dressed and go.