Life Around Here

It's Saturday morning, about 8 o'clock. We've been up since before 6, because once Laurel gets up we make the same mistake of thinking she'll go back to sleep if we bring her into our bed, but she kicks us and wiggles and touches our closed eyes to get them to open and we give up on sleeping in after about 10 minutes and all come downstairs and make (gluten-free, dairy-free) pancakes.

By 7:30, we were done with breakfast and playing a little guitar-ukelele-djembe and watching the snow fall.

There had already been several disagreements over things like sitting on the arm of the chair at the dining room table and pretending to ride a donkey. I want to be really consistent about manners, but Laurel sounds so funny when she says "hee-haw" that I laugh every time. It's hard to discipline a child when you are laughing. I worry that she'll grow up and go to other people's houses for dinner and not have good manners. But really, I worry that her behavior will be seen as a reflection of my poor parenting.

I had a conversation with a parent this week. I have her son in class, and he's basically a good kid. A little ADD, and a little unfocused, because you know, he's 14 and doesn't know what he wants out of life yet. But basically polite, curious, friendly, cooperative, and funny....all of my favorite qualities in a kid. The mom was relaying some of the mistakes he had made over the past few months, and expressing her concerns about, well...how is a kid who can't remember his zip code going to make it in the world.

It's really hard to just take a deep breath and remind yourself to allow your children the freedom and autonomy to take some risks and do some things on their own, based on their own motivation and decisions and control.

We love it when we allow them to take risks and they surprise us with their independence and success.

We cringe when they take a risk and it turns messy, unpleasant, or embarrassing.

We care about our kids so much that we want to take those icky feelings of I-messed-up and just feel them ourselves so they don't have to. We blame ourselves for not teaching them Absolutely Everything About the World so they wouldn't make those mistakes. We act as if their mistakes are our mistakes.

Resist that urge. Let them fly. Let them fall.

It's the absolute hardest part of my job - trying to maintain this balance with "my" kids at school. Loving them, even when they are making their own choices. For example, skipping class and hiding out in the nurses office, or drawing a penis with flames on it in the textbook (I should have taken a photo of that. It was a true work of art).

It's a hard part of parenting, too. Especially parenting a toddler.

1 comment:

sarah said...

you are seriously so wise, K.