Monday, May 24, 2010

Time to Spread Your Wings

Every parent loves it when kids get to certain points in their development, like when they start talking. Well, maybe that's a bad example. But the guessing game is finally over and they can actually tell you what it is they want. Of course, sometimes they never keep quiet. But at least they can tell you they're hungry, instead of you having to tell the difference between the "I'm wet" cry or the "I'm hungry" cry or the "I'm tired" cry. I remember feeling like I wished I had never had kids one particular evening, when we tried everything to get our daughter to stop crying. It turned out she just wanted to hear herself cry. Isn't parenthood great?

Anyway, we hit one of those milestones again this weekend. Although this one didn't really directly impact me so much, as it did our son. To recap, he is 8 and a half years old. He's beginning to express some of that independence that many parents warned us about. Personally, I think it's great that he wants to strike out on his own and explore the world. I admire him for that and wouldn't expect less.

There has been only 1 remaining vestige of "little kidism" left in his life. That last hold-out has been tossed to the curb, or in this case, moved to the other car. Yep, he's no longer in a booster seat. He now gets to sit in the chair like a regular person. You wouldn't think this is a big deal, but let me tell you, it is.

To watch him in the rear view mirror is like watching a butterfly slowly climbing out of its cocoon. He is constantly moving around in the seat and throws out comments like, "Wow Dad, there is so much room in this seat".  He also keeps adjusting the back of the seat forwards and backwards, until it's at just that right position. You can obviously tell he's liking this new freedom.

My daughter, not to be left out, was able to have the back of her booster removed. Because you can't have one milestone with a kid and not have one with the other. Otherwise, there is no joy in Mudville. She watches her brother and does the same things he does. She even makes little comments while we're driving like he does. She may be the most independent member of our family, but she still likes to follow her older brother's guidance.

So the milestone we've hit is not the one I've just described. Rather, it is the one where stuff happens in the lives of my kids that are now consciously more important to them, than they are to us, the parents. I see a lot of parents who still try to manipulate their kids into making them accomplish things that are far more important to them than they are to their kids. Nope, I don't think that's how it is supposed to work. You have to let them do things because it's important for them, even if you think it's ridiculous or simple-minded. Remember, it's part of their normal development. Without it, we'll just have robotic kids afraid to strike out on their own because they never got a chance when they were younger.

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