Wednesday, April 27, 2011
My House-Where a kid can be a kid.
This warning is also issued to all people who may come into contact with us in public. I don't "shhh" my son when he sings loudly in the shopping cart. I ignore the eyeroll of the waitress when when she has to spend an extra 5 seconds at our table so Eldon can order for himself. I let Eldon open the door by himself even when there is an impatient shopper waiting behind us to get in/out of the store. He is 2, I guess I just sorta expect people to understand.
In the era of "Your Baby Can Read," it seems that parents are forgetting what a treasure childhood truly is. The whole idea of pushing your child out of diapers and into adulthood at the earliest possible age is not an idea that I share. The other day at the library, we sat next to a woman who told me that they were also in the potty training process. Her daughter is 1. ONE. Since when do we require our infants to conduct themselves as adults?
I find myself a bit conflicted. Should we make sure that our children are learning to their full potential? How do I separate that from pushing them out of their current stage before they are ready? I was consumed with pride the day Eldon started walking. The day he learned his ABC's. I would have been just as excited and proud to see those first steps, though, if they had taken place a few months later and that's where I think parents lose themselves. It's a race to beat the "average" and an overall effort to make our kids grow up faster when it already goes by so quick. Whatever happened to the appeal of Neverneverland?
As we sprint neck in neck for the smartest, strongest child, we are forgetting that they're children. Children were made to explore and express themselves in ways that we could and should be learning from. Instead I witness parents squashing imagination rather than nurturing it. How dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus! They hush their kids and expect them to behave in a manner that is usually reserved for the stiff I-own-all-white-furniture-and-wear-big-hats-type-people.
We teach them to ask nicely, yet we yank forbidden toys right from their tiny little fingers. (This SO bugs me.) We teach them not to hit, yet we spank them when they break rules. I understand that children need to be respectful of adults. I also understand, though, that respect is earned and often confused with obedience. Just because a child responds with robot-like obedience to everything a parent says, does not mean that the child respects their parent. Respecting children is just as important. The whole "Children should be seen and not heard" mentality can suck it. Children should be heard, and if you listen, you might actually learn something. I admire Eldon's ability to challenge Nate and I when he thinks we are being unfair. I know that if we can teach him to do so respectfully, it will be one of his strong suits in the future.
I cuddle Eldon every time he drinks one of his two daily sippy cups of milk. I lay in bed with him rubbing his back until he is asleep. I kiss his owies. I bought him a doll. I am not making him a "Mama's Boy." I am not MAKING him anything. He will do that on his own. I am simply responding to the needs he has at this stage in his life, as I will continue to do for many more stages. So far, it seems to be working. I am so proud of the adorable, sweet, and smart little guy I get to call mine. He opens doors, says please and thank you, and asks people if they are O.K. when they appear hurt. Not because it's a rule but because he sees Nate and I do it and just assumes it's what you do.
This is rather long, but the idea was brought up at last week's "Wild Women Wednesday" and I have been thinking about it alot lately. Where to find the balance. I have come to the conclusion that we are just going to continue on our same path and parenting style, although I am now much more aware of whether I am simply encouraging, or pushing too hard in certain situations. I am so grateful for the wonderful women I know and am getting to know who ignited this discussion. Lots of thoughts, probably some rambling. Sorry. Go spoil your babies!
Posted by Jenelle at Wednesday, April 27, 2011