Monday, October 17, 2011

Two Against One

As of late, I've noticed the dynamic in our family slowly changing. There's an insidious element creeping in that I'm not sure I like. It's called independence.

My youngest, at 16 months, is just starting to exert a little independence - walking, screaming when he doesn't get his own way (love that one! ;), wrestling with his sister... you get the drift. Having gone through this stage already with my first child, I didn't fully understand how having baby #2 go through it would affect me - until now.

Last night, at bathtime, my two *angels* ganged up on me!  After supper they were both plopped into the bath and, shortly after, my little one started lightly splashing. That's all it took for my 4-year-old to instigate a full-on water war and, before I knew it, I was wet and both kids were laughing hysterically. It was like they were in on their own little plan... against me! It was a moment I'll never forget - not because I was soaked, but because I took a moment to enjoy their camaraderie and laughter instead of getting annoyed at the mess. My only regret is that I didn't get it on video. What an amazing memory to capture and show them when they're older!

I like the fact that my little guy is maturing and becoming his own little person, but I guess I didn't expect it to hit me like this. He really IS growing up. He isn't a baby anymore... and that makes me kind of sad. My baby years are over and, despite not loving certain parts of it (sleepless nights, seemingly endless diaper changes), there are other parts I wish I could hold on to forever. He's my littlest baby and his growing up signals the end of an era... but it's also the start of a new one. And, by the looks of it, he and his sister will have a lot more chances to gang up on me.

I guess it's two against one now (at least when hubby's at work). I'd better get used to it... and keep the camera nearby at all times! I don't want to miss another moment.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

You Live, You Learn

Sometimes I’m a bit of a helicopter parent. You know the kind – the parent who hovers near their kid at the jungle gym, just in case they fall; the kind of parent that has a hard time letting go (the exact opposite of a free-range parent) and usually ends up doing too much for their kid(s).  Ever since reading up on Positive Parenting, I’ve been trying to delegate more to my four-year-old and instill in her a sense of responsibility. Between daily chores (making her bed, setting the table, clearing her place after a meal) and making her accountable for keeping track of her personal belongings, I think I’m doing a pretty good job.

There comes a time, however, when the only lesson they’ll truly understand is one that’s learned the hard way.

Today happened to be library day at school. As we were getting ready for J-K, I mentioned that her library books were due. When all I got was a blank stare I figured I’d be a bit more direct, so I asked her to please go get her books from her bedroom so she could return them today during library period.  My request was met with a firm “no” and some excuse about not wanting to go all the way up to her room to get them. After asking again, I actually started for the stairs to get them myself. Then a funny thing happened… I stopped myself. 

The helicopter parent in me said it was the right thing to do (go and get the books), but the Positive Parenting principles running through my head won out in the end.  The natural consequence of my daughter not taking responsibility for her library books was that she would probably be gently reprimanded at school. In turn, I’d wager that the chances of this scenario happening again are probably pretty slim. However, if I robbed her of her opportunity to learn, we’d be in the same situation next week.

I’m so glad I didn’t rob myself of a learning opportunity, too. Because, no matter how much I want my kids to succeed, sometimes I’ve got to let them fail in order to truly grow. You live, you learn.