Like many families with young children, we often go right to the wire with getting out of the house when we’re foolishly attempting to go somewhere. Admittedly, this is partly down to me and Kate being easily distracted by the internet and my propensity to do random chores at inconvenient times in the first instance, but it has to be said that Dylan is a major factor too. The boy is an incredible ditherer.
It never ceases to amaze me at how he manages to string things out. We can be almost ready with 20 minutes to spare and still end up dashing out the door at the last moment. It’s strange really, as it’s at odds with his obsession with routine; you’d have thought that, as he won’t accept things being done in a different order, he’d expect them to happen by certain deadlines. Strangely not.
Mealtimes are the worst. I don’t know how he does it, but he can make a slice of toast last for 45 minutes. It’s like in football when a team defending a precious one-goal lead takes the ball into the farthest corner of the pitch. No amount of chivvying or mild threats regarding the removal of a second course from the menu will work. When he eventually puts food in his mouth, he chews it for ages; I often wonder whether it has biodegraded by the time he actually gets round to thinking about swallowing it. I also wonder where he disappears to in his head when he’s dithering – he must be daydreaming, but he doesn’t give anything away.
Then there’s tidying up. It’s part of the boys’ daily routine to put away their toys before dinner time. Being a merciless eating machine, Xander grabs armfuls of Duplo and rapidly deposits it in the bag we keep it in, lest his meal get cold but his big brother will pick up one piece at a time, slowly and deliberately examining each one before grudgingly putting it away. I was a very meticulous little lad, so maybe it’s payback, but I’m sure I wasn’t nearly as skilled at holding things up.
I think it must all be one last power struggle of the stroppy toddler phase – he’ll only do things on his terms and when he’s ready. In his defence, we’re never late for anything – he just humours us by allowing us to be on time at the last possible minute – but it’s really annoying and it’s definitely a battle he’s winning at the moment. Yesterday, for example, he decided that I wasn’t going to leave for work until he’d had his say – it was comedy gold though. It went something like this:
Him: Daddy, I don’t want you to go to work
Me: Well, the good news for you is that, after next week, I won’t have a job so I’ll be here for a little while.
Him: What’s the bad news?
I had to run to the station instead of enjoying my usual leisurely stroll, but at least it gave me something to laugh about on the way!