Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Recently I have been trying a new technique in parenting. Stopping. Stop saying no, correcting, redirecting, cringing. Look away unless you think there will be blood. Don't warn of trouble (You might fall if you x.) unless there seems a real danger of someone else getting hurt or serious injury.
You see, I am not naturally cautious or rule bound. But somehow I have gotten it into my head that my son should be. I think perhaps- because he is so fearless and so driven to do certain behavors that I would never consider- I have fallen into the trap of "parenting" all the time. If I don't watch myself our whole day can sound like this:
Don't bang on that.
Put the stick down.
How about watching a program instead of helping me make dinner?
Don't bang on that.
Don't grab me.
Don't play with your food.
Are you eating that or are you ready to get down?
You get the idea, right? Too much parenting!! Today was a perfect day of playing, playing, playing. I woke up grumpy from too few hours of sleep. I was so happy to be meeting friends that E adores thinking I'd get a couple hours of rest before spending the rest of the day tired and grumpy. Instead, they played, with us (the adults) and without us for hours. We even took a break and went to get something to eat and when they asked to return to the park afterwards, I resisted the urge to shuffle us home and stifle the play. We went back and had at least another hour or more. They played in the dirt. We didn't stop them. They were filthy (like what color was that shirt when we got here?? filthy) and there were no warnings or reminders about it aside from, "Don't throw dirt at each other." They ran just beyond where we could see them and ran back. They ran on low stone walls, full of tripping hazards.
They were happy. They were playing. They were in a place where they could run around and not worry about being safe. No roads close, good area and low population. It was divine.
I aim for this kind of sitution every day. I often fail because I live in a city and don't have endless access to kids for him to play with each day. And I can only play so long before I am tired and cranky myself. And I don't seem to like the same games he does (or at least- I don't have the limitless attention span for banging on pots that he has.)
After coming home, he had a shower and we chased each other roaring around the house. There was tickling, reading, play dough, and yes, dinosour train. There was making pizza together and him making cards for friends on his own. Banging on drums and dog kisses.
A perfect, perfect day. What I am aiming for everyday. Being right here, right now. And if I cannot be, letting him be instead of forcing him into a more grown up day.