OBSERVATIONS · slice of life

Stall Tactics

She’s stalling so I set a timer. Ten more minutes ’til rest time.

I watch and listen to her play while I sneak a peek at my smartphone.  So many e-mails to answer. An office to continue cleaning.  Writing to revise.  I force myself to put the phone down. Ten minutes will come quickly. This time will never come back.

She’s playing with her Old MacDonald tractor. I hear her babbling something about Old MacDonald going to Wegman’s to go shopping. Why is he grocery shopping? I have no idea. But I love trying to decode snippets of her independent play talk.

Suddenly, the timer goes off. She pretends not to hear it. She begins to line up Old MacDonald and his animals in front of the fridge. (Apparently the fridge is Wegman’s. Earlier the kitchen island was the Butterfly House at the Hershey Gardens to which Old MacDonald took another excursion.) It beeps. She doesn’t flinch.  I grab my phone in an effort to capture her stall tactics in progress.  And I do…

A little over two minutes after the timer went off, Old MacDonald was settled in a bed inside of the Little People’s house. I hurry Isabelle up the stairs to her bedroom. And that’s when she realizes something is missing.

“Schleppy!” she calls.

“Oh that’s right. He’s downstairs. I’ll get him.”

I hustle downstairs and grab the floppy bear. I bring him back upstairs to a little girl who professes her love for her bear as soon as she can squeeze him in her arms. “I love you, Schleppy, so much.”

I linger another minute. The e-mails can wait. The cleaning can wait. The revision can wait. I force myself to stay in the moment. This innocence. Loving a bear. Pretending to take Old MacDonald to the store. This will never happen in just this way again.

Check out the other slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.
Check out the other slice of life stories at http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com.

9 thoughts on “Stall Tactics

  1. And the stalling tactics are just beginning. Ha! Ha! You are so right, take a moment to enjoy and embrace this time, because it won’t come back.

  2. Great story. It is so hard to be in the moment sometimes when you have so much to do- but it is worth it for those special moments you will never forget. Stall tactics- all kids learn them 🙂

  3. Absolutely perfect! From start to finish I wanted to keep listening in. I am in need of all kinds of ways around those stalling tactics. I already feel bad when Aubrey (who is 9 months) cries when I put her down…I will keep keeping this one and reading it over and over again as she grows!

  4. So lovely Stacey – and using present tense works so well to capture the moment. I felt right there with you. These moments do feel so fleeting. It’s really challenging to work at home and raise a family. You always feel the pull of both. This is a great reminder of what truly matters.

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