As far as parenting our kids, Brad and I have pretty much always done things the “Independence Way.” To an extent, it hasn’t been our choice. Take for example, Maverick. He will not let me help him with his zippers any more. No chance. He MUST do it himself thankyouverymuch. He can, and he’s proud of himself when he accomplishes these little things, who am I to step in the way and do it for him? Not to mention, forcing my help on his would just cause a tantrum.
[Note: See last month’s Family Update for a very funny and timely picture of our biggest adventurer.]
Not only am I not gonna wear my jacket,
I'm gonna roll up one pant leg.
There have been a handful of times where he asks for help, which honestly melts my heart because he still needs me. I know it won’t last forever.
I can think of a few examples since we’ve had the kids that our friends have pointed out how independent we encourage our kids to be. When they were learning to eat, we consciously took a step back to let them feed themselves, however difficult it was to not interfere! And messy, oh did it get messy! But watching them when they figure things out is truly something else.
It’s hard sometimes, to take that step back. I don’t always, because it’s my job to help. But there’s something special in watching our kids learn on their own, see the sparkle of pride in their eyes when they get something right. To get to celebrate those victories with them, be proud together. Whether it be on the soccer field, at the dinner table, or at school when we wave good bye. They’re growing, so fast. It’s a privilege to assist them along the way, though it’s hard to remember that sometimes.
I’m not trying to gloat, the way that everyone does everything for their families is perfect for them. I just notice that our kids are encouraged in our “independence way” more often than not. And let me tell you, it’s not easy.
And I can’t help but wonder if that’s why Maverick is so dang crazy. He is almost 2.5 and has (within the last two weeks): drawn on the walls, climbed anything and everything in our house, hurt his foot jumping off the couch (To Infinity and Beyond!), banged, bruised and scratched his face, arms, neck, back, shoulders, everywhere. He literally cannot be left unsupervised and I cannot help but wonder whether if we had held his hand just a little more, he wouldn’t be quite so crazy.
Or maybe it would be worse.
I take it back. It’s not as though I regret the way we parent our kids, we do what’s best for our family. I think that this way that Maverick is, is just him. It’s engrained in his being, he was bound to want to go faster and higher and do more more more, no matter what we do or did with him.
But that doesn’t make it any less exhausting. Especially now, when there are no breaks, no chance to recharge. Even when I’m downstairs for school or out running errands, it’s not a break. Not really. And I long for one.
Fairy Door in the Western Red Cedar
Enough complaining. You’ve heard my inner most desires. That and a double bellini. That’s not asking too much, is it? Plus, he is a very sweet kid deep down in there somewhere. Evidence here.
Tell me, are your experiences similar to mine? Strong-willed kids? Needing an escape? Craving a strong, bartender-style drink that you didn’t have to make yourself?
And I’ll leave you with one more honest thought for today: the independence way for my kids came naturally, honestly, from somewhere. Two places, actually.
Send positive thoughts our way,