Tuesday, December 20, 2011

on boundaries

I've been thinking a lot lately about boundaries and rules. Juliet is at an age where everything in the world is hers to explore. It is also hers with which to make messes, hurt herself, and be irritating.

I want her to explore. I want her to feel in control of her environment and her choices. I want her to learn cause & effect. I want her to play and have joy in everyday things. I feel like these are imperative things to allow a toddler to do, to grow into a healthy and well-adjusted child.

So, I have come to terms with what this means in reality. It means that I "let" her do things that I know will ultimately cause a big mess.

Like unraveling the toilet paper while I'm in the shower and then dunking it all in the dog's water bowl. What a mess! And so annoying!  To me. To her, it is fun and play and learning.

Like drawing with a pen because she sees *me* do it and so she doesn't want to use a crayon. Even though I know the pen will end up all over her face. What a mess and so annoying! But fun.

Like drinking out of a "big girl" cup like mama even though it will inevitably mean that I will be changing her out of wet clothes and wiping up the floor. And, more controversially, by allowing her to continue to drink her milk out of a bottle even though she's officially past "bottle stage".

And sometimes it means that I allow her to make choices about what she doesn't have to do. Like, sometimes, she decides that she doesn't want her hair brushed. You know what? I remember how much it hurt to have my hair brushed. If she doesn't want her hair brushed one night, then who really cares? Maybe if it were a chronic issue and her hair was in a perpetual knot, I'd feel differently, but that's not the case.

I am making these choices so that the things that are really important are what matters. Not touching the stove, not running past the sidewalk and into the street, always holding my hand in the street-- these are the things that I want her to know. And other smaller things that are also important like brushing her teeth every night.

But the rest is just a mess, or it's just annoying, and I'm learning how to be okay with that.


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  2. So agree. Pa-I remember how sensitive you and Abby and Mylessas hair was too. Good thing to keep in mind as our girls grow up.