Written by Girl Birthday Gift
Last night before bedtime, Luke ran amuck through the house, bouncing off walls. Usually Matt gives Luke his bath and helps him wind down for the night with Daddy and Luke time, but Matt had a jampacked, late work night, so Luke and I spent the entire day and evening together.
Around 7 pm, Luke pattered those chubbery feet as fast as they could beeline to our room, crawled up to the bed, and looked out at the cars as they "vroom-vroomed" through the street.
Flowing to the brim with love and admiration for this high-spirited monkey child as I sat there on the bed with him, I proceeded to tell him, "jump!"
And so we jumped. And jumped. And jumped. And it was splendid.
This got me to thinking. What limits and boundaries do we place on our children and with what purpose in mind? Do we not let our kids jump on the bed, or do we? Do we allow them to explore their tiny worlds, or create tight boundaries and keep a ridiculous amount of things off limits?
Obviously, I don't let my child play with knives and drink bleach, or let him run free and scream like a banshee with no interference, but I prefer to let Luke figure out his place and limits through experience. He is free to rummage through the cabinets, which contain plastic cups and pans, he plays in our closets trying on our shoes and things, we give him donuts for breakfast and dessert after dinner, and yes, we let him jump on the bed (supervised, of course).
Parenting a toddler is tricky, and so is finding that balance. I love this post that the beautiful Casey Leigh wrote back in January about building up our toddlers and children. I've kept it bookmarked and refer to it often. What I learned is that I prefer to be the type of mom that says yes more often than no, focusing on building up with positivity instead of frustration and yelling, and I have made it a point to never apologize for Luke's behavior in front of other people. We stop the negative behavior with distraction and explain to Luke why we don't behave that way, but I shouldn't have to grovel and tell people sorry when my baby is having a tantrum. That's how babies and children are. We've all done it, no matter how wonderful we think we are (I'm pointing at you lady, who gave me the stink eye as we were in line at the store because Luke screamed because he wanted something in the cart that I told him he had to wait for. You can kiss my big ole' pregnant arse!).
As I bottle up all of my thoughts into one thought to end with, I'd say this:
Let your kids get dirty and dissect and explore. Let them express their emotions, and teach them how to confidently and happily overcome negative feelings and behaviors. Don't apologize on their behalf. Feed them when they're hungry. Let them have treats. Try to make them laugh as often as possible, and always try to give them at least 100 smiles, so you can get 200 back.
I know I'm just a rookie at all this mama-ness, but I'm doing my best and I think we've got a good egg to show for it. I hope all you mamas feel the same and fully embrace the way you parent, regardless of the glares and unsolicited opinions from others! Power on, mamas!
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