I am trying not to hover. Not to protect too much. To allow adventure, mistakes, and fun. Kids need to get dirty, to experiment, to romp and roll and be rough. Especially boys.
It always drove me up the wazoo when mothers I babysat for were overly protective or controlling of their little boys. I felt like Maria from The Sound of Music wanting to cry, "But they're children!"
On the one hand, being the oldest of nine has made me a royal mother hen. I can boss and manage like it's no body's business. It is my instinct to care for and protect.
But on the other hand, having five brothers who had a mother who let them be, shaped my thinking too. Where is the harm in making a few messes, getting [really] dirty?
Thought: is it possible that American mothers are making potato couch men because of the way we helicopter in on their every activity, trying to keep them from the adventure, mess, and dirt that being a boy naturally creates?
Lord, help me not become a helicopter mom.
These pictures are from one of Ralphie's first encounters with real dirtiness. We went on the front porch after a big rain storm. The torrents had blew leaves and mulch and dirt up onto the porch. I put a mat down for Ralphie to play on, but he would much rather scoot off and eat the leaves.
At first, I kept moving him back to his mat. But after a few minutes I realized the futility of that endeavor, and resolved to just let him be. Man, did he have fun. He crawled and explored that whole porch. Tasted leaves and dirt and mulch, and had a ball. (Of course, I snatched all choking hazards out of his sticky little fingers).
And when I looked at his pretty white sweater, all covered in filth, I just smiled. Why not? Why not just let him be? Why not just let him have some fun? What's it matter in the grand scheme of things, if I have to soak his sweater in whitener for 3 days to get the stains out? Or, if he has to have another bath before bed?
I'm loving being a mother to a little boy already. It's reminding me that not everything in life has to be perfect.