Thursday, April 17, 2008

holding back

Since the weather has been so nice Andrew and I have been spending more and more time at the playground. A few days ago we decided against our regular stomping grounds for another playground close by. And we met a developmental milestone. Well, I met a developmental milestone.

Normally I stand close by as he shimmies up and down the playground equipment. He craves climbing and loves tackling all the various ladders and climbing equipment that the playground offers and, naturally this makes Mommy very nervous. He could fall. He could hurt himself. He could need hugs and hankies and maybe even stitches! So, I have hovered.

Well, by the time we got to the playground that day, I needed to sit down for a minute. So, I sat at the closest bench, let him free and watched. He took off running and went immediately for some stairs, then a slide, more stairs, and another slide. Then he climbed a ladder ran over a bridge and down a slide. Then he climbed up a slide shimmied through a tunnel and ran down the stairs. If there was someone at the bottom of a slide he wanted to go down, he would wait for them to move before going down it. I didn't need to say, "wait a minute, Andrew." or even "watch where you are going!" He did wait a minute and he was watching where he was going.

There were a few times I wanted to jump up and intervene, but I tried my darndest to stay put on the bench. If he wanted to try something that we both knew was beyond him (like climbing down a ladder) he would look for me and I would shake my head 'no' and he would run off to do something else.

It reminded me of sitting with my brother at the beach last summer. He was letting his son swim in the ocean by himself for the first time. Ashton knew he had to stay between the flags, listen to the life guards and, well, he knew how to swim in the ocean. He was ready. And, little by little, so was my brother. But that didn't mean that my brother could easily settle into his reading and relax. He was jumpy and a little on edge and constantly checking to make sure Ashton was okay.

It seems like parenting has all of these moments of letting go. And the kids love it. And the parents don't. And it is all part of the process.

At dinner that night I was telling Dave about our experiences at the playground and he remarked how relaxing that must of been for me. To just sit and watch.

"Are you kidding?? I was on the edge of my seat! It was much harder to sit and let him go off by himself than to stay nearby!"

Each day at the beach was easier on my brother letting his son run off for the water. And, I assume each trip to the park will be easier for me. Maybe, one day I could even bring a magazine.

But, let's not get ahead of ourselves.


Holly said...

I know, it's so hard letting go sometimes. I constantly have to remind myself not to be so 'in control'. They will learn and grow just as well, if not better, when they are allowed to be free and possibly make a mistake. But it is hard...and they're only toddlers-this is just the beginning of letting go.

Miss Vicki said...

By Friday of Beach Week Chuck even left Ashton at the beach w/ his grandparents!! Chuck said it was the hardest thing he ever did. So the anxiety was transferred to me! YOu know how closely your Father watches (he actually was watching). I either stood at the shorline or moved my chair down to the edge. Actually, Ashton would have had to rescue me! Wish I could have watched Andrew-was he wearing sneakers? The bread looks delish!

Anonymous said...

You are such a good mommy. You are always considering the best balance for your life and happiness and Andrew's. You're going to be great with Sprout too. I can't wait to meet him.


p.s. I love your little kitchen quilt!

Melissa said...

I just noticed "visit Marti on the farm" on your to-do list. That's one of mine, too! I regret so much that I went to California, started at L.A. (to see my cousin) and then moved south to go on this ridiculous cruise instead of heading north to go to Marti's house. )-: