Saturday, April 17, 2010

PTTC Part 9: Can You Make Room?

"Are your children "problems to be solved,"
or people to be loved?
Consider current problems with your children.
Can you create a space,
free from your own anxieties,
in which they are able to find their own way,
feeling your love,
but not your expectations?"

This piece can be taken symbolically, but I'm going to change it up and take it literally. :)
For the past week, I've been challenged to "create a space free from (my) own anxieties" for my son to play in! In other words, babyproofing. Soon he will be walking, and he is even now able to reach the 3rd shelf on the bookshelf and pretty much any low table. Keeping things safe is very much a challenge!
On the one hand, it's hard not to be overly anxious about this, because once my husband caught him eating soap! And once we turned our back for (literally) 5 minutes and he had climbed all the way up the stairs! Since we have wide doorway/stairway openings, none of our baby gates will fit, so it's easy to fall into the trap of anxiously following the boy around, taking away every thing he tries to explore and steering him toward places I'd rather he go.
On the other hand, it's also tempting to just throw out all furniture with sharp edges and turn this old farmhouse into one big "safe" play area. This would be my preferred method! I'd rather change the house to suit the baby then follow him around and not let him touch anything! But either method is impossible. Farm houses don't change their structure, and there's not enough storage to put away 5 bookshelves worth of books just so he can't grab one off the shelf and rip it to shreds.

Right now I'm very much challenged to create an environment where baby is safe to explore and mom is safe to turn her back every once in a while to get the dishes done! It's hard to see this stage of development as anything but a "problem to be solved." However, I'm also occasionally reminded about how fun this stage of development is. For example, when I give my son a noodle for the first time and he looks at it in puzzlement and starts playing with it, only to figure out quickly that it's also good for eating. Sometimes in the morning I just lie on the bed after nursing him and have a "conversation" with him, tickle him, play peek-a-boo (which he still doesn't really "get"), and make silly noises with his animal toys. Yes my son needs to be kept safe, but he needs my silly games and loving cuddles just as much. :) And that's the fun part.

1 comment:

  1. HI

    Great post - and I SO understand your question. When our kids are little we can "child-proof" their world - and then feel less anxious about letting them explore on their own - as they grow our ability to "child-proof" their worlds and keep them safe lessens and eventually they are deciding how to be safe without our guidance - now that is big time anxiety producing, trust me. If you read my last post you will see some of what I am referring to.

    Great and wise post.

    Love to you