My two-year-old is a force to be reckoned with, and for that reason, we lovingly refer to her as “boss baby”.
She is my third child, and she is full of personality which she happily exudes without provocation.
She also has opinions; more than you would expect from someone so young and petite. And, get this — she has no problem voicing them. Yes, in my house she is the youngest (and loudest) of three, full-sentence-speaking, bossy and boisterous children. She has a pretty commanding voice already for such a tiny nugget; she has lots of words, mostly logical, and can reason darn well for a toddler.
I like to think that my marvelous mothering is the reason for my wonderkid, but the fact is that her older brother and sister likely deserve the credit.
The eyes of my youngest, well, you would think they would be on me and heck, I expect them to be. But, more often than not, they are on her siblings and are intently focused on how they are behaving and accomplishing tasks.
Lately when we go the playground, my two-year-old wants to do the monkey bars “just like sissy”.
Not only does she want to do them but she wants to do it herself.
“I do it. No Mommy!” she yells at me.
This frustrates the absolute heck out of me. Of course, I am glad that she is courageous. I love the fact that she desires to be independent and do things herself. BUT, the monkey bars…at age two…HECK NO. She could break a bone or fall and land on her head, and because of that I absolutely cannot allow it.
Do you know what else I don’t usually allow?
Climbing up a slide; which she, of course, tries at every park visit.
I know, I know, there have been numerous articles as to why I should allow my child to climb up the slide. Still most often, I stick to my helicopter tendencies and put a nix on that nonsense, which quite possibly may have something to do with the fact that the one time I did let my oldest climb up a slide, she fell and broke her wrist.
So what kind of mom should you be?
The mom that encourages your child to take on tasks that are fun, but challenging and very possibly a bit dangerous; OR the kind that holds your kid back from any situation or activity where they could get hurt?
I would presume that the majority of us ride this line pretty well by aiming to foster our child’s desire for independence while ensuring that we are keeping them out of harm’s way. Still, the problem remains that on occasion it’s not possible to do both.
So, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to tell my children (and remind myself) that nothing in this world is too high for them to climb. However, when they decide to attempt to reach feats that are seemingly out of their reach (but never their ability), I will be there to support them and we will tackle the adventure together.
Further, I will tell them this about life:
You climb by doing and not by thinking. While I want you to be smart and realistic about your choices, sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and take that first step.
Standing on the ground can and will get boring. Have the courage to make the climb, the awareness to know when to slow down, to stop, or to ask for help; and have belief in yourself that you can accomplish any task with or without the help of those you love.
Only climb if you have accepted the possibility that you may fall and have developed a plan for when that happens.
When you climb, go slow; aim to be methodical, but also use some trial and error.
Climb because it’s fun — the journey itself will afford you some fantastic views along the way.
It’s true (and probably pretty obvious) that I am fearful when I watch my youngest daughter climb the 5ft stairs at the park, but the fact is I know that her “climbing” is growth-provoking; not just for her, but for me as well.
So, what’s the takeaway?
That I want for you and myself to encourage our children to continue to climb.
But, I don’t want you to stop there.
I also wish for you to continue to climb.
I want you to climb that parenting barrier that’s been holding you back from being the mother you want to be.
I want you to climb out of that marriage sinkhole that took you and your spouse down without warning.
I want you to climb that work ladder because you deserve to be paid what you are worth.
I want you to climb that ladder of self-acceptance and find absolute pleasure and peace knowing how important you are to this world and to the people in it.
May we and our children just keep climbing.