|Ilana doing a little gardening. Wearing a white dress, who cares we can wash it.|
I have to say I never really thought I wanted to be a mom. I remember as a kid saying I was never going to have kids. I am a very independent, structured, an in control kind of person and kids well they can mess that all up.
|Figuring out how the mixer works. Don't worry he can't break it!|
|Breaking the eggs by himself, so what if some of the shell gets in you can always take it out.|
|Yeah he is only 2, but the best time to learn is when you want to, not when I say you should.|
Then I met Chuck and I knew I wanted to have children. When we got pregnant with our first I remember asking people all sorts of questions trying to figure out the kind of parent I wanted to be. I remember talking with my friend Ahna who was telling me about the kids of someone she knew. She told me when she saw this person at the grocery store with her kids they were begging for treats, and their mom kept saying no...no because I said so. Something I heard all to often from my mom. Ahna then went on to tell me about her kids and when they would ask for something Ahna would be honest with them and tell them no and give them a reason. Not a lame reason but the real reason. I loved it and was instantly hooked. I was going to talk with my kids explain things to them.
|Cutting his own food at a fancy resturant, yes it might take a half hour to eat so what!|
Fast forward to when we lived in our little one room house. We had a wood stove practically in the center of the house. With a little one that had just started walking this could be a bad thing. Or so we were conditioned to believe, kids are not smart they will just fling themselves into harms way. So we decided to use the talking route. We explained to Ilana that the stove was hot, "see put out your hands and feel how warm it is without even touching it. If you touch the stove when it is hot you might get burned, and that would hurt a lot." We never forbade her from touching the stove, however we would caution her when she got a little too close. Know what? She never touched the stove, she never was burned, she never accidentally fell on the stove.
|Picking out what she wants to wear, who cares if you think it doesn't match or she wont fit it.|
We have used this "technique" with both of our kids, we talk to them, we try as best we can to explain, it is not easy especially when they start asking questions. Sometimes we get frustrated and want one of those seemingly easy way out mom/dad quotes like "because I said so."
|Quite the shiner on his forehead, it will heal.|
The other things we decided to do, which honestly for me has been the hardest, trust. Trust that they can do it themselves, trust that they can figure it out, trust that they will not get hurt, and if they do it will be okay.
|Letting her dress herself, however that may look.|
A month or so back the kids were with me at the shop where I work. The shops are located along a highway, not a three lane highway a sort of back woods highway. Anyway the 6 year old was next door at another shop and the 2 (almost 3) year old wanted to go next door. So he put on his jacket and went to the front door. At the front door were two ladies that were headed out the door, when they opened it Elan headed out. One looked back in the store and asked for his mother, I told her it was okay. She was beyond hesitant and extremely confused. I could see Elan walk out onto the sidewalk up the walk a little way then up to the neighboring shop. All the time these two woman were concerned. Elan he was so proud of himself, I could see his confidence grow with every step he took, doing it all by himself.
|Just turned 6 and eating her birthday pie with her fingers, who cares she will wash them!|
I love my kids, and I am very lucky that they are such good kids. We often get compliments about how great our kids are, and more often get asked what we do. How do we raise such good, caring, independent, courageous kids. And I guess the answer is by letting them be the little people that they want to be. So Elan wants to put bandages on places that don't need them, so Ilana wants to wash the dishes. I can buy more band-aids, we can re-wash the dishes that don't come out so clean (of course not in front of her).
|Going to get the mail with no clothes and no shoes...he is doing it his way!|
Instead of buying the toys that they can pretend to be adults with, why not let them use the tools adults use.
|It can be washed off.|
This is what I have learned; things might take a little longer, they might be a little messier, they might have to be re-done, there will be bumps and bruises, there may be more frustration, there will be happiness, there will be more confidence, it gets easier, there is more independence.
|Two pretty happy kids!|
Let's end with a word from someone Chuck and I both admire (Frank Zappa):