I realized it early on, the tendency I have to look at my children as BABIES, more fragile, more vulnerable, and less capable than they really are. It’s sometimes a wakeup call when I see my friends’ children of the same age. Hey, they are BIG KIDS! Hmmm…my girls are the same age…so wait a minute! Are my BABIES that big, TOO???
And along those same lines, it’s happened a time or two, at least, when my friends and family members have gently prompted me to allow the girls a new privilege, to challenge them in some new way. Most of the time, I just didn’t realize my BABIES could / should be doing something more.
I remember the holiday, just before my sweet cherubs turned two. We went to Grandma Linda’s house for lunch, and I cut the girls’ food into small pieces and put it on the trays of their highchairs for them to feed themselves. I was proud that they were eating the same “big people food” we were. Grandma Linda was proud, too, I’m sure…”but do they need spoons?” she asked. In honesty, I’d given the girls spoons a month or so prior to that, but they made a HUGE mess. I tabled that endeavor, vowing to revisit cutlery “when they were older”.
A week or so later, a lovely package arrived at our door, containing the cutest plates and matching plastic forks and spoons.
It was the subtle prompt I needed to turn them loose with utensils…and low and behold, they mastered it really quickly!
Grandma Linda prompted me again recently, when she gave the girls weaving looms for Christmas. I have very fond memories of making potholders when I was a kid…but I remember being much older than five. I was so appreciative of the thought, of course, but I worried it would be one of those “for when you’re older” gifts we put back for a while.
The girls couldn’t wait to dig into their new goodies, though, so I acquiesced. And you know what? THEY DID IT!!! I am still doing the edges for them, but they’ve got the weaving down pat. Think again, Mommy!
For their birthday, Aunt Alison sent the girls two new games, one being “Trouble”. The girls wanted to play right away…but I feared it would be far over their heads.
They proved me wrong…again…as we’ve played countless games over the past two weeks. There’s counting, of course, but there’s also considerable strategy, and the girls have picked that up really quickly. While the game moves really fast, there’s the potential for lots of disappointment. The girls have learned to take it in stride…and that, my friends, is HUGE! (Daddy had this game when he was growing up, called – in Serbian – “Don’t Get Mad, Man!” That’s a fitting title, and one we say often, as we vie to send each others' pieces back behind the starting line.)
Yet again, I’ve been shown that my BABIES are much more capable, much more mature, than what I sometimes give them credit for. Thanks, Friends and Family, for that extra little push I need now and again to take off the baby pink-colored glasses.