Sunday, July 05, 2009

Parenting Autopilot

Once you have three kids, you suddenly go from a man-to-man defense to a zone. It's impossible to be three places helping three kids at one time. You have to divide and conquer.

Frankly, it's exhausting. Especially when one's a little tyrant. What with all that wanting to be fed, held, comforted and carried all the time.

You get worn down. You worry that if you give in a little, the whole house of cards is coming down. And you're going to be at the bottom. Flat on your ass.

That's why this little thing became such a big moment for me. It happened the other day when Sage played her favorite game, "swimming." This is when she puts on her purple swim cap, hot pink goggles and her Ariel bathing suit with the gauzy scales on the bottom, lies on the floor and pretends to swim. (Why don't I have a picture of this? See above note about the tyrant. I will take one the next time she plays, I promise!)

This day, she was done with her swimming but kept on the bathing suit. She then wanted to go up the street to play with the neighborhood kids.

I almost - almost - told her she had to change out into shorts and a tee shirt.

Because it's like sometimes I feel I'm on parenting autopilot. Where you just automatically say "no." No you can't have just one more cookie. No I won't squirt whipped cream into your mouth. No you can't go to bed without brushing your teeth or stay up even one more second longer. NO NO NO NO!

Have I gotten to the point where I'm not really even considering the question? I mean, would it really be so terrible to give in occasionally? A little more fun might go a long way.

So when Sage, looking absolutely adorable, looked at me, waiting to hear my decree, the switch must've flipped. Maybe, just maybe, I'm finally loosening up a bit. Because all I said was she had to put on her sandals. And then she could go play.

It's summer. It's okay if my 3 1/2 year old wants to wear a bathing suit when there's no pool in sight.

It made her happy. And you know what? It made me happy, too. Happy that I could let my kid be a kid.

And you know what? The world did not come to an end.


Jen C said...

I bet she was absolutely adorable!

Swirvin said...

So cute!

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