The Challenge

Its dawned on me recently that as hard as I work to raise my children they will invariably meet other people someday and all my hard work is going to go right out the window. Or at least it will be challenged in such a way that I can merely pray I laid a strong enough foundation to keep the whole darn building from falling to the ground.

At first its the little things - stuff like lollipops and reckless running. Yes. I know, I am mean and overprotective. I do not let my son run through Gymboree with a Dum-Dum lollipop dangling precariously from his jaw. But apparently, you see, I'm wrong because at the same moment I was making my child cry in one of those "but I want my way!" tantrums as I took his lollipop away from him, other children were preparing to ride on the parachute with white sticks dangling out.

We have a simple rule in our house about "pops." One can not have a lollipop unless one's butt is planted firmly in a chair or a lap. Simple. The moment that little butt wants to start moving the pop must be handed over to the nearest adult. We also don't let the boy slobber away on a lollipop for long because I have this fear of him breaking off large chunks and choking. He has some then it magically disappears into the trash.

So here we were yesterday in "Gym class" and the lollipops came out of hiding. Logan sat nicely with me to have his until he realized it was bubble time. At that point he dutifully turned to me and said "Ok, you take this now." I wrapped it up tight in its wrapper and followed him to the main mat - now parachute covered. Logan then saw the others with their pops and he wanted to hold his. He grabbed it back and argued his case strongly - "I not eat it. I just hold it. See," he said as he held it up still wrapper covered. "I just sit on parachute and hold it."

But I am bigger than him and so the lollipop ended up in my pocket and he in my arms as we worked through his tears and protests. "Honey, I don't want you to get hurt. If you run while you have your pop and fall, well that just wouldn't be good. I just want you to be safe. Ok." And it was ok. Tears stopped, boy went and chased bubbles.

Then he sat because it was time to ride the "chute." He asked once for his pop back and I once reminded him that it wasn't going to happen. And that's when it hit me - this whole thing about other people screwing with my life lessons. Just as I finish telling my child no to the lollipop another child goes tearing across the floor -- mouth blue with candy dye and stick dangling from his lips. Logan just looked at the kid and then at me. I then counted them. There were five kids running or riding the parachute with a lollipop in the mough. At one point the blue mouthed child tore across the moving parachute - a no-no on a nonfood day - and nearly fell as he hit the incline. The mother to my left and I snapped the fabric quickly in an effort to right the tripping child before one of us had the chance to snag his arm and hold him up. He never fell but the mere through of what could have happened had he pitched head first into the mat below with that thing in his mouth - scary.

And there rode my child. . . actually not even blinking at what could have seemed totally unfair. He just went with it. Yet he's two. He just goes with it now because he's two and I'm mom and so that's all that we need to know. What is scary is the future. . .but we won't focus on that just yet. For now I'll sit and marvel at how its ok for other two year olds to run with hard candy and sticks in their mouths.


Moxie said...

This is the time of year when my playgroup discusses this issue endlessly. It's all the contact with relatives whose values are so different from your own, and whose rules are so screwed up it makes your teeth ache. Not to mention the completely inappropriate presents.

What we've gotten down to is that if we can hold on until they're three, they'll be able to understand discussions of "you can do that at Grandma's but not at our house," and "your cousins are allowed to eat pure sugar at 9 pm, but that's not what we do." I think the lollipop running thing is the same--in a few months you can talk about how other kids have parents that let them do things he can't do, but he gets to do things other kids' parents won't let them do.

But it's tough. So many times I wish there were just commonly agreed-upon standards and practices, like not pumping your kid full of nothing but Fritos for lunch.

Mandy said...

I really have to agree. I think that there will come a point where they will understand that "rules" can be different given the differing environments.

It is so hard when you have to be the "mean" one and enforce things that others don't. I know you will stay with your convictions and he will be a better boy because of it!

You are doing great!

thatgirl said...

Oh gorsh. You just hit a sore spot with me. See, Sky has an 89-year-old great granddad. And the big tradition with Granddad Max is that he gives the great-grandchildren Dum-Dums (called "suckers" in these parts). She even got one BEFORE SHE WAS BORN. Anyway. It's really hard -- impossible -- to stand in the way of this. It's one of the great pleasures of granddad's life to put his finger out and lead Sky slowly to the drawer where the Dum-Dums are kept. Even better if she actually asks for them. Sky has been cracking those things with her teeth since she's HAD teeth. She usually consumes no less than three on every visit to the great-grandparents'. Which, luckily, is not every day. We do keep her from running with them, but that seems to be the best we can do.

We pick our battles. :)