Friday, June 13, 2008

Let 'em be kids.

There are times when safety is paramount. Then there are times when we don't want our kids doing something because it is inconvenient for us. Then there are the times when we make them stop doing it because "children should mind their parents." But, you've got to pick your battles.

Tonight we went out for ice cream with the kids to the Arboretum. There was an inviting puddle of water there that BB started to stand in. I didn't want him to be tempted to splash so I said, "No water" and steered him around it. It worked. A few minutes later he went to stand in it again and I thought, "Well, what's the harm." Then he put his hands in and I said, "no hands in the water."

Then I began to wonder what to do next, because he just wasn't listening. I had to ask myself why I didn't want him to put his hands in the water. Was it dangerous? No, the puddle was shallow and small. But then I felt like since I had said "no water" I had to stand by it - "children should mind their parents." I really didn't want him playing in it because it would have been inconvenient for us to have a wet, muddy kid in the car.

I decided that sometimes kids have to get wet and muddy. If I were a kid I'd want to, and there really isn't harm in it unless he'd been dressed nicely to go to dinner. (Who takes their 1 year old to a nice dinner? Not me!) It began to look like darned fun to play in a mud puddle, so I gave up. He got on his knees in the mud puddle, he then sat in the mud puddle, and then tried to drink from the mud puddle. (OK, we did stop it there.) Then we laughed as he walked away on his tip toes with his legs as wide apart as he could maneuver them, his soaking wet, mud-puddly bum prancing off. We just took off his jumper and let him walk around in his diaper and ride home that way, mud and all, with Nemo swimming around on the DVD player.

Pick your battles, folks, and maybe we grown-ups should find more puddles to play around in. (Don't drink the water.)


Christine said...

You're the best mom, EVER!

Allison said...

That's awesome!

Last week, SB was all about the hose - so I turned it on her. She loved it and it was a good 30 minutes of entertainment - and a bath!

Swing Kid Mommy said...

You are right - I learned something similar years ago when I was teaching pre-school. A mom told me it is sooo much easier just to say "no" to things the kids want to do without even thinking about it. Especially things that are inconvenient to adults. Instead, stop & think (like you did) about the negatives vs. positive and as long as it's not hurting them - why not? This advice has helped me a lot in parenting a toddler who always wants to try new things.