“Outide, outIDE, OUTIDE!”
Translation, “Mother if you do not take me out into that 106 degree Fahrenheit heat, I WILL wear you down by shoving my tiny Crocs in your lap every seven seconds. And NO, that book you’re trying to distract me with does not amuse me. Outide.”
Baby: (Purposeful finger point.)
Me: “Do you want a strawberry?”
Baby: (Forceful head shake, and more punctuated finger points.)
Me: “Do you want some water?”
Baby: “No, no, no!” (Bordering on hazardous finger points.)
Me: (Internal Dialogue) “Oh, you want that piece of chocolate cheese cake you’ve never had a bite of, therefore you should not know that you should greatly desire it, and I don’t even know where it came from. Did I sleep shop again?”
I then set baby down, because his persistent wiggles are becoming hard to manage, and he plops his squishy-diapered bottom on the floor below the devilish cake and persists to hold an ‘I want that mystery food’ vigil, while screaming of course.
Being a parent is hard; it’s also greatly fulfilling, enriching, smile inducing, humorous, etcetera, etcetera, but it’s also really hard.
Where do we draw the line between setting healthy boundaries and just giving the little bugger what he wants, to gain a moment of peace?
I am not the perfect parent, shocking right? But, I do actually think, mull, and ponder the decisions I make regarding my diapered offspring, likely to the point of mild obsession.
These are a few of the questions that zoom through my mind in between my son’s insistent inferred (or sometimes incredibly direct) request (aka demand,) and my decision to grant my assistance in said request, or practice the art of gently redirecting him to a more appropriate activity (I’m still in the finger painting stage of this ‘art.’)
Is it safe?
Good question right? If I grant baby’s request will his health and/or safety be in jeopardy? Seems like this would be a no brainer; but my brain won’t let it be so. If I never let my child partake in activities that may potentially harm him, how will he ever learn how to climb a tree, make paper snowflakes, or blend a smoothie? Yet, on the other hand, handing the 14 month old the knife he’s ‘mine, mine, mine’ing at, and letting him chop up his own apple, probably isn’t the best idea. I usually find myself weighing the potential of the request to be mortal, or just band-aid worthy. Band-aids I can handle; but what if he then develops an intense attachment to the dinosaur band-aids and “they” one day run out of stock? Geesh.
Moral of my dilemma, don’t let baby do anything that could easily lead to an ambulance ride, and consider facilitating his persistent request if I’m able to provide my rapt supervision, while he boldly explores this beautifully challenging world, and learns to expand his own physical and mental capabilities.
Is this a slippery slope?
Letting your bay go diaperless on the sandy, deserted, (and carpetless) shores of Costa Rica is one thing, while allowing a diaperless bottom to roam above our very much carpeted living room at home, is something entirely different. Yes, yes, I know “they” say that you’re supposed to set the same boundaries for baby no matter where you are, to learn consistence, and a lot of other really great developmental stuff. I absolutely get the logic and agree with this philosophy, but I’m also a real live mom who can’t always set consistent boundaries, everywhere. Some moms can, and they are awesome, they’re rockstars, I consider myself a groupie, and I’m okay with that, less pressure.
So yes, I do bend certain boundaries for baby depending on the who, what, where, when, and why. But, when the answer to the following question is ‘yes,’…. ‘Are we at home in an environment where this particular situation will likely arise again, and again, and again?’…… I better stand my ground. For example, the bare bottom poo poo carpet situation; I had to nip that in the butt (pun intended.) How to keep baby from removing his own diaper? Stick some difficult to remove pants on him, now no one can get that diaper off.
Aren’t we blessed that every single one of us is beautifully unique? Even when this means we can’t just do exactly as our best friend, or that mom blog, says to do and have it work perfectly with our custom personality our remarkable one-of-a-kind kiddo? We get to soak in other people’s ideas, opinions, and suggestions, process it all, then do whatever we think is best for our unique families, in the moment, depending on the who, what, where, when, and ‘why did you cover your entire body with purple permanent marker?!’
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this post (that I considered too long for one post,) that I will be posting tomorrow. If you’re reading this the day after tomorrow, then Part 2 is already posted. Yay! You’re a rockstar for reading this.