This morning the kiddos and I had breakfast at Jigger’s Diner with Mom. I asked Gwen if she wanted the Mickey Mouse pancake special; she thought about it for a minute and said, “I want a girl one.” So I asked if they could do a Minnie Mouse pancake. Gwen was all excited about the “strawberry bow hair” and banana earrings. It’s the details, I’m tellin’ ya. Letting her make certain decisions like what to eat, letting her pick what to wear – it’s gotta be a princess dress – sure has been an interesting exercise in restraint. And definitely humorous at times.
Afterwards we ran a couple errands. Kohl’s always has good sales, and since I’ve been doing better avoiding impulse buys, I decided to mosey on over there. If I’m already out and about with the kiddos, especially if I get an early start, I like to maximize my time. Gwen kept asking, “Where we going next?” I told her we were going to a store to find a new pillow for Daddy, since he’ll need to bring it for the bed he has at his new job. Aside: slightly anxious about adjusting to Phil’s new 24 hours on/24 hours off shift schedule starting next week.
We left Kohl’s, and Gwen asked again, “Where we going now?” I told her that we were all done, and thus ensued her barage of “But why” questioning. We found a pillow for Daddy, so we’re going home. Why? BECAUSE!
On the way, I had the sudden impulse to take the kiddos to the park, despite the fact that I had told them about a hundred times already that we were going home. I kept promising Gwen that when it was warmer we could go, and since it’s definitely not hot enough for the beach, the park was the next best thing.
The kiddos were so happy when we pulled up at the playground! Josiah sees a slide, and he can’t contain his excitement, or his pointing. I get so much joy out of watching my kids have fun and enjoy themselves, letting them do things by themselves even though I may feel nervous that one of them might get hurt.
Josiah sits down & does an about-face as though he’s crawling down a flight of stairs… except that he ends up sliding down on his tummy. Makes me think of our childhood cats when they would climb on the windshield and slide down on their paws.
It’s the perfect place to practice the relenquishing of control, giving them free reign to play and discover and become confident in their abilities.
There have been a number of times in the past when I felt guilty for not keeping as close an eye on my child as other might think I should; I’m often more worried how I come across as a parent to others than in the actual welfare of my child. One time, I had Josiah in a front carrier and I was pushing Gwen on a swing; I wasn’t quick enough to catch her and she tumbled forward and fell facedown on the ground. The playground was packed with people, and I felt all eyes on me as I tried to calm my screaming child. What a bad mommy.
Sure, we want to protect our kids… but we also want them to thrive and grow. It’s ironic sometimes, all the loving and teaching and nurturing we lavish upon our children so they can learn to live without us.
It was a lovely morning, sunny and warmish, full of enthusiasm. I chased after the kiddos on the bridge – Josiah erupting into laughter when the whole thing jingled and vibrated – and it was so much fun watching them play together. I hope they always remain friends.
Another thing playgrounds are good for: tuckering your children out so they take a nice, long nap. Priceless. Oh, don’t forget to sit on the “horsey turtle” before leaving.
When it comes to your children, what do you find hard to let go? What have you learned as a result of these challenges? How do you think this has affected your children?