There are 39 steps from our third floor apartment to the ground floor. Thirty.nine.
No big deal, right? It's two flights of stairs - 18 steps each (36), plus our hallway (37), the landing (38), and the sidewalk (39). I know this because my kids have counted it at least 100 times.
I convinced myself when we moved in that living on the third floor was good because walking up those stairs every day would be like forced exercise...especially carrying an extra 20-30 pounds of extra tired-child weight (feel the burn!) What I didn't think about was HOW LONG it would actually take us to walk up...and down...those stairs every day (sometimes two or three times a day!)
My two year old moves at the pace of a tortoise. Y'all, he is ssslllooooow. Slower than molasses running uphill in the winter. Slower than a Sunday afternoon. Slower than a snail herd moving through peanut butter...uphill...on a Sunday afternoon :) You get the idea.
Here's an idea of what our typical "stair conversation" looks like: "Bubba, come one...Come on, Bubba...Keep moving...Come on...Let's go...Hurry up, Bubba." It takes us anywhere from 3-5 minutes to walk those 39 steps.
That's not a long time (in the scheme of life) and I've learned to build in an extra 10 minutes to get wherever we are going . "So, what's the problem?", you ask. ME. I HATE waiting. I am holy impatient. I feel uneasy and anxious when I'm not moving (which has its benefits - thank you, tidy house).
Then, one day, my oldest looked at him and said "You are as slow as a turtle". He looked at her, in all seriousness and replied, "No, I'm Bobby".
Vocabulary lesson. Did you know that early senses for the word "wait" include "observe carefully" and "be watchful". So, instead of waiting on Bubba to walk those 39 steps, I have been more intentional about just watching him without one attempt to hurry him along.
Sometimes he counts the steps. Sometimes each step is a letter of the alphabet (with one step usually being LMNO). Sometimes we talk about dinosaurs (and how they ROAR - which is extra fun in an echo-y hallway) or animals (which always seem to roar too). He wants to know where we're going, and where we're going after that, and after that can we go to the park or pool, Somehow, it always ends up as a race I didn't know we were having when, on the last step, he proudly exclaims, "I beated ya, Momma".
The kid moves at his own pace. Bless his heart. You know what, that slow(er) pace will serve him well. He will take his time making big decisions. He will be steadfast in times of turmoil and chaos. He will measure twice and cut once (sorry - hubby's an electrician and he says this all the time!)
He'll notice the little things because he's not in a hurry. He'll enjoy the journey.
And I will applaud him every time for being one step ahead of me. Every time.