I have a dawdler

He is the CUTEST dawdler you will ever see, but he is a dawdler. In anticipation of this entry, I looked up the word "dawdler" and this is what I found:

daw·dle (dôdl)
v. daw·dled, daw·dling, daw·dles
1. To take more time than necessary: dawdled through breakfast.

Yep. That's my two-year old. One who dawdles through breakfast. And through lunch. Through dinner, too. And on the way to the van.

This is me: "Let's go!" And we all scurry out the door, all except my two-year old. He's lagging behind, already, finding a book or a toy to bring with him. Then he will stop on the porch to kneel down and look at something (a leaf? bug? spider?) Then he pokes down the stairs, and, oh my! found a rock (heaven forbid we're in a parking lot with gravel. Lots of little rocks. I dread these occasions, truly). My daughter, baby and I are waiting (impatiently) for him to catch up. When he finally makes it to the van, it takes him SO LONG to climb into his seat. I've tried everything. "I'm going to count to 10. Everyone in their seats by the time I get to 10!" (My daughter is in her seat by 4, I'm putting the baby in so he's in within the 10. My son? 14, or so....) Or just this, "Hurry, hurry! Let's go! We're late!" Or "See how fast you can do it! Pretend you're a baseball player (he likes those). Go so fast!" Nothing works.

But mealtimes. Those are the struggle. We will put a plate of food in front of him and everyone else will be done with their second plate of food by the time this little fellow takes his second bite. I am not exaggerating. He is playing. With his food, fork, fingers, whatever there is to play with. His fork automatically becomes a "guy" and is playing with his cup, another "guy" and they're talking. Or he will have one chunk of roll in one hand, another chunk of roll in the other, and they will be talking to each other. Amusing, yes. Aggravating? Also yes.

Two nights ago we cheerfully took his plate away (after an hour; the rest of us had moved on to cleaning up the kitchen) and told him dinner was over, and that he could not eat anything else, or have any milk (his drink of choice), for the rest of the evening. No problems, actually. (Truly, I thought he'd be starving.)

The next morning when he asked for milk, I warmed up his dinner plate and sat him down, told him he could have some milk when he finished his breakfast. From 7:37am to 9:04am he ate all of 10 bites, many of those spoon-fed by yours truly into his mouth. I confess: at some point I finally said, "Four more bites and you can be done. I fed him those four bites (slowly, he chews excruciatingly slowly) and he got to get down and go on his merry way. Mind you, not without some tears during the process.

So, our new plan is this: We will have a set time for dinner. We haven't figured out a reasonable time. But, when dinnertime is over, the plates are removed, and we all move on. We're hoping he'll learn that he needs to eat within this reasonable amount of time if he wants to eat.

Back to the definition of a dawdler. Some other adjectives I came across? Dillydallier. Foot-dragger. Slowpoke. And I winced when I read the words idler and sluggard. Ouch.

As a door turns on its hinges, so a sluggard turns on his bed. (Pr. 26:14)

The sluggard buries his hand in the dish; he is too lazy to bring it back to his mouth. (Pr. 26:15)

So I am praying for my little sluggard. I'm welcoming any wisdom/ideas/suggestions, too!

1 comment:

  1. Apr. 19, 2006 - Great plan!!
    Posted by Your pediatrician friend
    I think your plan for mealtime is perfect!! Precisely what I recommend on a daily (not kidding) basis!!!! In fact...can I just print off your strategy and pass it out when asked for advice on this topic?? You are SUCH a great mommy!!! I will pray for your little dilly-dallier, too!!


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