• Thu, Jan 19 2012

Ikea Is The Only Place That Can Tame My Wild Child

My 2-year-old is a bit of a wild animal. Actually, he’s a full-on wild animal. Lucky for him, he also happens to be charming and adorable. But he has an innate need to climb walls, leap from high surfaces and and play hide ‘n’ seek without telling anyone (last time he went missing, I found him in the refrigerator). So you can imagine my surprise when, one blustery morning, I took him to Ikea to run wild and he ended up half-asleep on the display furniture.

I actually only go to Ikea when I need napkins and, since I’m running low on $2.99 napkins with surprisingly modern prints, I decide to shlep my little guy along for the ride. He’s a trooper, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over every trinket and sneaking colorful, bird-print placemats into our giant cart. He skips through the never-ending maze that is Ikea, stopping to marvel at every closet organizer, bathroom mat, cookie tin along the way.

We finally arrive at the kids’ section, where my son spots a pink toddler bed – really a crib with one side removed – around 20 feet away. He sprints towards it, excitedly whips off his boots, and gets under the covers. Next thing you know, he’s jumping out to grab “doggie” from my purse, then leaps back in with a look of utter glee.

“Pacifier, Mommy, I want my pacifier,” he tells me from his cozy little cocoon.

“No, sweetie, this isn’t your bed,” I reply. “Your pacifier is for bedtime only.”

He ignores me, marveling at his good fortune for having found this dream-like nest.

“Good night, Mommy,” he says sweetly, and proceeds to lie there, motionless and smiling, for a good 20 minutes. (You have to understand, this kid has never been still for 20 minutes unless he’s truly sleeping.)

“It’s time to go,” I tell him, having endured 20 minutes of quizzical looks from fellow shoppers who cannot get over this mischievous child who has made himself at home in a crusty Ikea bed.

“No!” he shouts. “MY bed!”

And he means it. I’m not sure what it is about this rickety little bed that makes him so happy – and calm – but it’s working like a charm. So much so that I actually consider bringing it home with me.

The other kids around us, for the record, are being typical kids. They’re jumping up and down, tossing around toys, shoving each other aside for a turn in the mini-tent set up arm’s length away from the ice-cream display. There’s confusion and shouting and non-stop tantrums. But, for the first time ever, I’m the mom with the chilled out kid lying still. If I had half a brain, I would have bought myself a coffee and settled in to a nearby chair with my iPhone.

Instead, I bribe him with raisins and we make our way home. It’s nap time, after all, and I have to begin the 30-minute process of settling him down. I assure him that we’ll come back soon, and I actually mean it. Forget the spa, coffee shop, yoga studio. Next time I need some peace and quiet, I’m heading to Ikea with my toddler.

(Photo: digsdigs.com)

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