The 'good' toddler

Someone asked me this morning if Asher was 'a good boy' and to be honest, I didn't really know how to answer. I've been thinking about it all day and the more I think about it the more it reminds me of when people, usually older women, used to ask me if he was a 'good' baby. The answer then was that yes, he was a very good baby, and he was behaving just as he should for an x week/month old. The answer now is a bit more complicated but I still believe he, like all other kids who have the opportunity, is a good kid. I think he pushes limits like a crazy man, has tantrums over seemingly small issues, I think he desperately needs to test out new skills and assert his Independence, I think his attention span is toddler-short and he can't clean up his toys, sit still for more than a moment unless he's consuming a babycino, go to sleep by himself easily or cope with changes to the routine, hunger, thirst or tiredness, but yes is a really good kid. In other words all the things that drive me absolutely freaking mental about Asher are age appropriate behaviours and particular to Asher's temperament. He doesn't really try to be either 'good' or 'bad' he just is completely himself and bent on exploring the world and getting our what he wants (mostly just our attention and approval) as quickly and efficiently as possible. The more consistent I can be and the more I can reward the behaviour that I want, the more I get a 'good kid' to deal with.

(I had to interrupt that paragraph to go and get Asher, who had let himself out the front door - the behaviour of a good kid? I have since deadlocked the front door which should take him at least a few weeks to figure out.)

Which brings me to today. We came home from a lovely morning at the playground (Bradfield Park, a.k.a. Train Park for anyone who knows Sydney) Asher had a shakey (home-made smoothie, praise be to the Bamix), got his nappy on without complaint and then we lay down for one book, one story and our snooze. Instead of this process taking 20 minutes, Asher was still bouncing around next to me while I lay on his bed gritting my teeth an hour and a half later. I changed the poo that was in his nappy (how had I not smelled that?) popped him back into his bed and sternly told him to stay in bed and go to sleep. I left him in there for almost an hour, ignoring the occasional crashes and bangs and snatches of cheerful singing. When I went to get him out the room looked like this:

I opened the door to see Asher sitting in the little clear space right in the middle. When I called Sanj and told him what happened his only comment was 'what a good boy!' (distinctly *not* what I was thinking at the time), but after some reflection I guess I agree with him. He played and explored and did what I had asked to the best of his ability.
So it's time to go out for fish and chips at the beach for dinner, and because I've been paying attention here rather than to him the lounge room is literally covered in toys, I've had to have firm words about the outside tap (there is water all over the deck) and I've already had to fix the Ikea easel. Now he's crying because the sticker he asked for is sticky. But still he is a good boy!

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