I don’t know about anyone else, but bath time is crazy in our house, especially with the warmer weather, later nights, and especially dirt filled days.
On one of those late running nights I told my daughter she had to take a shower before bed. She had been playing outside so taking a shower was a given…right?
There is just one thing. She loves baths. I mean LOVES them. She can stay in the tub for an hour and still not be done.
So when I said shower. The pleading started. “You mean bath, right?” “But Mommy I want a bath.” ” I don’t like showers.”
It was late and things needed to get done, so I insisted on a shower. I told her we could get her out before she could count to 70 (Hint: Counting makes any event a little more fun. And at 4 counting to 70 gives me plenty of time).
This whole event got me to thinking….
Children have almost no control over their own lives.
Imagine someone telling you when to wake up and when to go to bed. When to take a shower. What to eat. What to wear. When you can relax and when you have to work. All day, every single day being controlled by someone else.
I don’t think it is just me and my control obsessed self who thinks this sound miserable.
But this is the life EVERYDAY for our children.
Now don’t get all alarmed, I am not about to advocate that we give children full control over their own lives.
I’ve already explained that my Avee Bug would eat cheese sandwiches for breakfast, and I’m pretty sure she would forgo all learning except science. The house would always be a mess, because Mommy would just play all day. We would be broke, because Daddy would never be allowed to go to work.
But what I realized was that if someone were always telling me what to do, I would get frustrated, so I need to understand that my daughter probably feels that way too.
There are times when I really don’t feel like eating any vegetables. There are times when I’m not quite done soaking up the sun and want to stay outside just a little longer. There are times when I want to stay up later than normal, because I am really enjoying a movie.
Now, usually I do the responsible thing, eat my veggies, go inside and start supper, and pause the movie and go to bed. But I make that decision. If I really want to finish the movie, I do. I might pay for it in the morning when I’m dragging along, but I am responsible for my own decisions.
Now being a responsible mom, I try to make the very best decisions for my children, even when it makes them “so so so so so so MAD.”
But maybe, just maybe sometimes I should realize that my child isn’t trying to be disobedient. Maybe she is just frustrated because at four she isn’t old enough to understand that watching four straight hours of tv isn’t good for her, even if they are educational shows. Maybe she is just disappointed because she really likes those winter footy pajamas more than the short sleeve set, even though it is 78 degrees. And maybe tonight carrots just sound yucky.
Sometimes when she asks “Why Why Why?” or “Never Ever Ever?” she isn’t trying to be hateful. She is truly just trying to understand why something has to be a certain way, and if that toy is going to be gone forever.
Even at four she has an opinion, and questions everything. I think that means that I am doing a good job. She is learning to question and ask why (even if it sometimes seems like she is being disrespectful). She doesn’t just parrot what she has been told, but she critically examines everything.
She wants what she wants. She really doesn’t care if everyone else is playing trains, if she wants to build with blocks there is no convincing her otherwise. I know this means we need to work on compromising, but I have to admit it’s nice that she marches to the beat of her own drummer. I hope she always resists peer pressure with such determination.
Parents we are responsible for training our children to serve God and to become productive, law abiding citizens. We need to teach our children to be respectful, compassionate, honest, and considerate. Parents we have to teach time management and healthy eating.
But parents, lets not get so caught up in raising these responsible adults that we forget that right now they are children. Children who are trying to understand all the things of this world. At twenty-six I sure don’t have the whole world figured out, so I certainly can’t expect my children to always know the correct response.
So while we are busy teaching and training our children, lets not forget that they too are human. Humans who like mud pies regardless of stained clothes. Humans who like hot dogs and pizza more than salad and vegetable soup. Humans who like Octonauts more than math work. And guys we are the parents so occasionally (yes occasionally) we can say yes to bubble baths, yes to pizza with extra cheese and yes to just one more episode before bed.